PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks on Friday announced the return of old friends Daniel Hudson and Henry Blanco, each signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Both were integral parts in the Diamondbacks’ run to the NL West title in 2011.
The D-backs also announced the acquisition of right-hander A.J. Schugel and outfielders Brandon Jacobs and Todd Glaesmann, who were the players to be named in recent trades involving Heath Bell, Tyler Skaggs and Adam Eaton.
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“Just happy to stay in the org and not have to uproot my routine and what-not,” Hudson said in a message. “Can finish off my rehab with these guys.”
Hudson, who won 16 games is 2011, is not expected to return to the mound until midseason at the earliest after he underwent a second Tommy John surgery last June. The D-backs did not tender him a major league contract at the deadline two weeks ago, making him a free agent. But general manager Kevin Towers said at the time that the D-backs wanted Hudson back.
With Hudson and Blanco on minor league contracts, the D-backs have three openings on their 40-man roster and maintain flexibility as they look to add a No. 1 or No. 2 starter this winter, a move Towers said likely will come through free agency.
Blanco was valuable both on the field as a mentor to Miguel Montero in 2011, when Montero had his most productive season and Blanco chipped in with eight home runs in 37 games. Blanco played 21 games with the D-backs in 2012 before suffering a fractured thumb on a play at the plate in a game at Philadelphia in early August and was out for the rest of the season.
Blanco, 42, was with Toronto and Seattle last season, hitting .142 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 150 at-bats. Montero and Tuffy Gosewisch, who made his major league debut last season, are the only catchers on the 40-man roster.
None of the newcomers needed to be placed on the 40-man roster, because they were not on their previous team’s 40-man roster.
Schugel, 24, has an area connection. He was an infielder at Central Arizona College before switching to the mound after he was selected by the Angels in the 25th round of the 2010 draft. He led the Texas League with a 2.89 ERA while going 6-8 with Class AA Arkansas in 2012, but he had a down year in 2013, going 4-6 with a 7.05 ERA at Class AAA Salt Lake City. His father, Jeff, is a longtime scout who joined Atlanta in the offseason.
Glaesmann, 23, was Tampa Bay’s minor league player of the year in 2012 when he had 21 homers and 75 RBIs at two Class A levels and rated the best power hitting prospect in the Ray’s organization entering 2013, when he hit .240 with 28 doubles, 11 homers and 54 RBIs at Class AA Montgomery. He was a third-round draft pick out of high school in 2009.
Jacobs, 23, hit a combined .244 with 33 doubles, 13 homer sand 66 RBIs at Class A and Class AA stops last season after being acquired from the Red Sox in a deal for left-hander Matt Thornton last July. He was a 10th round pick in 2009.
NOTES:Baseball America had a strong review of right-hander Marcos Mateo, the D-backs’ selection from the Chicago Cubs in the major league phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. Mateo “has been absolutely electric in the Dominican Republic,” the magazine wrote before the draft, “featuring a high-90s (mph) fastball and a filthy slider that sits in the upper 80s.” Mateo, 29, is 3-1 with nine saves and a 1.80 ERA in 18 appearances with Estrellas. He has 23 strikeouts in 20 innings. Mateo missed 2012 and some of 2013 after undergoing elbow surgery. Mateo must remain in the majors this season or be offered back to the Cubs unless the clubs agree on another option.