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Dan Jennings agrees to minor-league contract with Angels

Dan Jennings agrees to minor-league contract with Angels
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Dan Jennings delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in July. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

The Angels agreed on Friday to sign left-handed reliever Dan Jennings to a minor-league contract and invite him to spring training.

Jennings, 31, would make $1 million and an additional $500,000 in incentives if he makes the 25-man roster, according to a person with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.

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He spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers after being released by the Tampa Bay Rays and had a 3.22 ERA in 72 games. He also had a 4.09 fielding independent pitching number while striking out fewer batters per nine innings (6.3) than he did in any of his previous full major league seasons.

The Rays acquired Jennings at the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, then released him before opening day last year.

Jennings will join an stacked bullpen competition that features two other left-handers in Williams Jerez and Dillon Peters, both of whom are on the Angels’ 40-man roster.

Jennings has made at least 50 major league appearances each season since 2015, which was his first of 2 1/2 seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He pitched in a career-best 77 games in 2017.

Jennings’ reliability would bolster an Angels’ bullpen that last year ranked fourth in the majors in innings pitched (632) and had five pitchers appear in more than 60 games. Of those five, only Noe Ramirez (69) and Cam Bedrosian (71) remain on the roster.

Ohtani’s progress

Shohei Ohtani, who told Japanese media earlier this week his effort level on dry swings is between 70% and 80%, watched fellow right-handers Jaime Barria, Taylor Cole and Bedrosian throw their first official bullpen sessions of the spring on Friday. Ohtani won’t return to the field as a pitcher until 2020 at the earliest, but he reported to camp early to continue his rehab from offseason elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Ohtani’s routine will not change when position players report for the team’s first full-squad workout on Monday, manager Brad Ausmus said. He will continue to work out indoors and take swings without a ball until he’s cleared to begin hitting off a tee.

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