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Angels sign outfielder Rafael Ortega to major league contract

The Angels signed Rafael Ortega, a 24-year-old outfielder who spent 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals’ triple-A team in Memphis, to a major league contract Tuesday, an indication they might not tender a contract to arbitration-eligible reserve outfielder Collin Cowgill by Wednesday’s deadline.

The left-handed-hitting Ortega, who is expected to compete for a reserve spot, hit .286 with a .367 on-base percentage, .378 slugging percentage, two home runs, 22 doubles, 42 runs batted in and 55 walks in 131 games last season. He led Pacific Coast League outfielders with 15 assists.

In eight minor league seasons, the Venezuela native, who signed with the Colorado Rockies as a 17-year-old in 2008, has compiled a .288/.355/.399 slash line with 35 homers, 305 RBIs and 192 stolen bases in 273 attempts.

Ortega, a center fielder who can play the corner outfield spots, has played in only two major league games, for the Rockies in September of 2012, collecting two hits, a walk and a stolen base in six plate appearances.

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