CINCINNATI -- The Reds signed veteran right-handed reliever Russ Springer to a Minor League contract on Thursday and will assign him to Triple-A Louisville. Springer, 41, hasn't pitched in the big leagues since last season, when he split time with the Rays and A's. A 17-year veteran of several clubs, he had a 4.11 ERA in 74 appearances during 2009. "He probably won't be activated for a couple of days," said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who had Springer previously pitch for him with the Cardinals. "We want to work him out and see where's at."
Springer pitched before a Reds scout on Monday before the signing. According to the Alexandra Daily Town Talk in Louisiana, five clubs watched him work out and all made offers. "Me being a big Cincinnati fan growing up, even though the other offer [of the final two] was better, all of a sudden I went from being not really excited to looking at it as a kid again when I was pulling for them during the Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster days," Springer told the newspaper. "And they're in first place. That's big." Springer signed a pro-rated contract worth $850,000, according to the newspaper. The Reds could use the next two weeks before the July 31 Trade Deadline looking for more relievers. "I think, probably, what I'd be looking for more than anything is probably a little more experience in the bullpen, bullpen depth," Jocketty said. "I still like our club the way it is. We have some guys coming back, [Edinson] Volquez coming back, we still have [Aroldis] Chapman trying to get ready to go out of the bullpen. So it may not be that critical of a need, but if there was one area, Chapman could be a help, but he still doesn't have the experience. That's part of the reason we signed Russ Springer today to a Triple-A contract. He was going to retire and then decided to come back."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.