Former Rays reliever Cruz signs with Pirates

Former Rays reliever Cruz signs with Pirates

Former Rays reliever Cruz signs with Pirates
ST. PETERSBURG -- Juan Cruz will not be back with the Rays this year, as the Pirates have signed the veteran right-hander to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.

Cruz, 33, went 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA in 56 appearances for Tampa Bay last season.

The 11-year veteran signed a Minor League deal with the Rays last spring and attended Spring Training in advance of making the team to start the season, which made him the first non-roster spring invitee to make Tampa Bay's Opening Day roster since utility man Eric Hinske in 2008.

Cruz spent the entire season in the Rays' bullpen, becoming one of three relievers in the Major Leagues last season with five or more wins and no losses. He allowed only 20 percent of inherited runners to score, which ranked him first among Tampa Bay relievers and was ninth best in the American League.

Cruz is 37-35 with a 4.13 ERA in 404 career appearances for six different teams.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.