Cubs sign B.J. Ryan
B.J. Ryan (AP)
B.J. Ryan (AP)

Posted Jul 16, 2009

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today signed left-handed pitcher B.J. Ryan to a minor league contract. Ryan will report to the club’s rookie-level club in Mesa, AZ on Sunday.

Ryan, 33, is 21-28 with 117 saves and a 3.37 ERA (201 ER/536.2 IP) in 560 relief appearances in 11 major league seasons with Cincinnati (1999), Baltimore (1999-2005) and Toronto (2006-09). The southpaw has finished in the top seven in saves in the American League three of the last four seasons entering 2009, including a 2008 campaign during which he went 2-4 with 32 saves and a 2.95 ERA (19 ER/58.0 IP) in 60 relief outings.

A two-time American League All-Star (2005 and 2006), Ryan has posted an ERA of below 3.00 in four of the last five seasons entering 2009. After recording a 2.28 ERA in 2004, Ryan became Baltimore’s closer in 2005 and notched 36 saves (seventh in the league) and a 2.43 ERA in 69 relief appearances. In his first season with Toronto in 2006, Ryan earned his second consecutive All-Star appearance and finished with a career-high 38 saves and career-best 1.37 ERA. He is in the fourth year of a five-year free agent contract that he signed with Toronto.

In 2009, Ryan recently went nearly three weeks without recording a run, posting a string of 10 consecutive scoreless appearances from May 31-June 20 covering 7.1 innings. In fact, he posted a 0.96 ERA (1 ER/9.1 IP) in 12 outings from May 31-June 29. Ryan allowed three runs in 0.2 innings on July 5 in New York and was released by the Blue Jays on July 8.

Overall this season, Ryan is 1-1 with two saves and a 6.53 ERA (15 ER/20.2 IP) in 25 relief appearances for the Blue Jays. Earlier this year he spent three weeks on the disabled list with left shoulder and back soreness from April 24-May 15.

The six-foot-six, 255-pound Ryan has limited left-handed hitters to a .179 batting average (125-for-697) during his big league career, including a .168 batting average against (55-for-327) and .266 slugging percentage against since the start of the 2004 campaign. He has struck out 625 batters in 536.2 career innings, an average of 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

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