Add Manny Delcarmen to the bullpen battle

The growing list of relievers competing for jobs in the Mariners bullpen added an interesting name Thursday with the signing of veteran right-hander Manny Delcarmen to a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League camp.

DelcarmenAction.jpgDelcarmen, who’ll turn 29 next week, was a valued member of the Red Sox bullpen a few years ago and though he’s struggled a bit the past two years, brings a career 3.97 ERA in 298 appearances over six seasons.

Several teams were in pursuit of the free agent, who was released by Colorado in December after being acquired from the Red Sox in an Aug. 31 trade for young pitching prospect Chris-Balcom Miller.

Before that, Delcarmen had spent his entire career with his hometown Red Sox, who drafted him in the second round in 2000.

He was promoted to the Major Leagues in ’05 and went 11-6 with a 3.89 ERA over the next 5 1/2 seasons, including an outstanding ’07 season when he posted a 2.05 ERA while giving up just 28 hits in 44 innings.

In the two-year span of 2007-08, Delcarmen had a 2.81 ERA in 118 1/3 innings and held opponents to a .197 batting average while racking up 29 holds.

Last season, the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was 3-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 57 games with the Red Sox and Rockies.

Mariners pitchers and catchers report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Sunday and Delcarmen join the growing cast of characters competing for bullpen jobs. If he returns to his form of several years ago, he could be a valuable addition to a team looking at quite a few youngsters to fill middle-relief roles.

The Mariners already signed former Orioles closer Chris Ray on a similar Minor League deal to compete with returners David Aardsma and Brandon League and hard-throwing youngsters Dan Cortes and Josh Lueke among others for the late-inning roles.

Delcarmen becomes the 23rd non-roster invitee.to the Major League camp, including 13 pitchers.

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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