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Cubs sign Valbuena, announce 16 spring invites

CHICAGO -- The Cubs signed infielder Luis Valbuena to a one-year, $930,000 contract on Thursday, thus avoiding arbitration, and announced some of their non-roster invitees, including Brian Bogusevic, Brent Lillibridge and Darnell McDonald.

Valbuena, 27, batted .219 in 90 games last season with the Cubs, who claimed the infielder off waivers from the Blue Jays on April 4. He played 82 games at third base, taking over for Ian Stewart, who was sidelined with a wrist injury that needed surgery.

The Cubs have three players remaining who are arbitration-eligible: Matt Garza, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.

The Cubs also have released the names of 16 non-roster invitees who have signed Minor League contracts and will be invited to Spring Training. The list includes Bogusevic, 28, an Oak Lawn native, who attended De La Salle Institute in Chicago. A left-handed hitter, he batted .203 with seven home runs, nine doubles and 28 RBIs in 146 games last season with the Astros.

McDonald, 34, is a former first-round pick, who has played for the Orioles, Twins, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees since 2004. A right-handed hitter, he batted .205 combined for the Red Sox and Yankees last season.

Another outfielder invited includes Johermyn Chavez, 23, who has not played above the Double-A level. He batted .232 in 75 games with the Mariners' Jackson team last season.

Lillibridge, 29, has played for the Braves, White Sox, Red Sox and Indians, and posted a .213 average over five seasons. Last season, the infielder was dealt twice. He opened the season with the White Sox, was traded to the Red Sox in the Kevin Youkilis deal, then dealt one month later to the Indians for Jose De La Torre. In four seasons with the White Sox, Lillibridge batted .217. He is a versatile player and has played all positions except catcher.

The Cubs also invited infielder Alberto Gonzalez, 29, who has played for the Yankees, Nationals, Padres and Rangers. Last season, he batted .241 in 24 games with Texas.

Edwin Maysonet, 31, who batted .250 in 30 games with the Brewers last season, also received an invite, as did first baseman/outfielder Brad Nelson, 30, who has not played in the big leagues since 2009 with the Brewers. A fourth-round pick by the Brewers in 2001, he spent all of 2012 with the Rangers' Triple-A Round Rock team, batting .279 with 24 home runs and 81 RBIs in 132 games.

Catcher J.C. Boscan, 33, who has spent 16 seasons in the Minor Leagues, also received an invite to Spring Training. Last season, he batted .189 for the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett team.

The Cubs also invited eight pitchers, including right-handers Andrew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, Dayan Diaz, Jensen Lewis, Blake Parker, Zack Putnam and Cory Wade, and lefty Hisanori Takahashi.

Carpenter, 27, has appeared in 23 Major League games over five seasons with the Phillies, Padres and Blue Jays. The Cubs acquired Chapman, 25, from the Braves last July in the Paul Maholm deal, and he appeared in 14 games.

Parker, 27, was selected by the Cubs' in the 16th round of the 2006 Draft and opened last year at Triple-A Iowa. He was promoted to the big league team in mid-May, but appeared in seven games before he was shut down with a right elbow injury.

Putnam, 25, has compiled a 3.90 ERA over 171 games in five Minor League seasons with the Indians and Rockies, while Lewis, 28, has a 3.32 ERA in 196 games over eight seasons in the Indians' Minor League system.

Takahashi, 37, has a 14-12 record, 3.97 ERA in 165 games (12 starts) for the Mets, Angels and Pirates. He pitched for the Yomiuri Giants before coming to the U.S. Major Leagues in 2010.

The Cubs also signed former big league pitcher Dontrelle Willis, but he received a Minor League deal and was invited to the Minor League camp.

Willis, who turns 31 on Saturday, has pitched for the Marlins, Tigers, Diamondbacks and Reds, compiling a 72-69 record and 4.17 ERA over nine seasons. He was on the World Series champion Marlins team in 2003, and won National League Rookie of the Year honors that year, posting a 14-6 record and 3.30 ERA. He finished second in the Cy Young Award balloting in 2005, when he won 22 games.

Chicago Cubs, Brian Bogusevic, Brent Lillibridge, Darnell McDonald, Luis Valbuena