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Morton, Volquez sign contracts

by The Associated Press on December 12, 2013 10:45 AM

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates made two moves to bolster their pitching staff Wednesday: One for the long term, the other for the short.

The team announced it has agreed to a three-year, $21-million contract with pitcher Charlie Morton, who emerged last season as one of the Pirates’ better starters after returning from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss almost all of the 2012 season.

Pittsburgh then gave the rotation another option by signing free-agent pitcher Edinson Volquez to a one-year contract for $5 million.

Morton, 30, went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts for the Pirates in 2013.

Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 2013 while splitting time with the Padres and the Dodgers. Volquez, 30, was an All-Star in 2008 when he went 17-6 for the Cincinnati.

He has spent the last five years dealing with injury and other issues. He also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and served a 50-game suspension in 2010 for using performance-enhancing drugs.

The moves give the Pirates some needed depth and stability behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates still hope to sign free agent A.J. Burnett, who is mulling retirement. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who sat out the final four months of the 2013 season due to arm trouble, is also expected to be back.

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