Efren Navarro, a former Lynwood High standout who developed into a versatile and valuable reserve for the Angels over the past two years, was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for reliever Al Alburquerque, whose signing was officially announced Tuesday.
Navarro, a 50th-round pick out of Nevada Las Vegas in 2007, came up through the Angels farm system as a smooth-fielding first baseman, but by 2014 he had worked his way into becoming a proficient, if not Gold Glove-caliber, left fielder.
In 130 big-league games, all but 12 of them in 2014 and 2015, Navarro, 29, hit .246 with a .303 on-base percentage, .324 slugging percentage, one homer and 20 runs batted in. Many of his appearances were as a late-inning defensive replacement at first base.
The Angels will have 10 days to trade or release Navarro, who has been blocked at first base by Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron. There is a slim chance Navarro could remain in the system and be sent to triple-A Salt Lake, but as a player with a prior outright assignment, he can elect free agency if he clears waivers.
Alburquerque, 29, signed a one-year, $1.1-million non-guaranteed contract. The Angels would be responsible for about one-quarter of the contract if the hard-throwing but sometimes erratic right-hander is cut by opening day.
Alburquerque was not tendered a contract by the Detroit Tigers this winter after he went 4-1 with a 4.21 earned-run average in 61 games, striking out 58 and walking 33 in 62 innings.
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