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Upton Jr., Ogando ink Minors deals with Tribe

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and right-hander Alexi Ogando completed their respective physicals with the Indians, putting the finishing touch on their new Minor League contracts. Both players have been extended non-roster invitations to attend Spring Training with the big league club.

In Upton and Ogando, Cleveland has a pair of veterans who will have a chance to compete for a spot on an Opening Day roster with a few vacancies. Their additions bring Cleveland's non-roster invitees list to nine for Spring Training. Pitcher Leonel Campos, who signed a Minor League contract with a spring invite earlier this offseason, was released from his deal on Wednesday to pursue an opportunity with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.

CLEVELAND -- Outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and right-hander Alexi Ogando completed their respective physicals with the Indians, putting the finishing touch on their new Minor League contracts. Both players have been extended non-roster invitations to attend Spring Training with the big league club.

In Upton and Ogando, Cleveland has a pair of veterans who will have a chance to compete for a spot on an Opening Day roster with a few vacancies. Their additions bring Cleveland's non-roster invitees list to nine for Spring Training. Pitcher Leonel Campos, who signed a Minor League contract with a spring invite earlier this offseason, was released from his deal on Wednesday to pursue an opportunity with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.

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The other players with non-roster invitations with the Tribe include outfielder Brandon Barnes, infielders Michael Martinez and Drew Maggi, and pitchers Jeff Beliveau, Lisalverto Bonilla, Evan Marshall and Neil Ramirez. Indians pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 14, with position players following suit on Feb. 18.

Upton finds himself in a similar position as veteran outfielder Austin Jackson (now a free agent) did a year ago with the Indians. Cleveland's outfield consists of Michael Brantley, Bradley Zimmer, Lonnie Chisenhall and potentially Jason Kipnis, each of whom bat left handed. Upton's ability to play multiple outfield positions and track record of hitting left-handed pitching make him a possible fit as a fourth outfielder.

Last season, thumb and shoulder injuries limited the 33-year-old Upton to 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento with the Giants, who released the outfielder on Aug. 21. His last full season was in 2016, when he hit .238/.291/.402 with 20 homers, 15 doubles, three triples, 61 RBIs, 64 runs and 27 steals in 149 games with the Padres and Blue Jays.

Upton hit .275 (.874 OPS) against lefties, compared to .226 (.634 OPS) against right-handers in '16, and has hit left-handers (.760 OPS) better than righties (.708 OPS) over the course of his 12-year career in the Majors.

The 34-year-old Ogando was an All-Star with the Rangers in 2011, but he has not pitched in the big leagues since '16, when he made 36 appearances for the Braves. Last season, the right-hander suited up for the Hanwa Eagles in Korea, going 10-5 with a 3.93 ERA and 74 strikeouts against 30 walks in 110 innings.

In parts of seven seasons in the Majors, Ogando has gone 33-18 with a 3.47 ERA in 283 games (48 starts) between stints with the Rangers, Red Sox and Braves. Two years ago, he posted a 3.94 ERA, struck out 29 and walked 23 in 32 innings during his lone season with Atlanta.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

 

Cleveland Indians, Melvin Upton Jr., Alexi Ogando