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Mariners sign free agent pitchers Shawn Camp and Hong-Chih Kuo

C Chris Gimenez and OF Mike Wilson designated for assignment to make room on 40-man roster

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed right-handed pitcher Shawn Camp and left-handed pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo to one-year Major League contracts.

To make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Chris Gimenez and outfielder Mike Wilson have been designated for assignment. Seattle now has 10 days to trade, release or outright the contracts of Gimenez and Wilson. The Mariner 40-man roster remains full, and an additional 26 players have been invited to Major League Spring Training (updated roster attached). Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria on Saturday (on-field Feb. 12) and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 18.

Mariners Transactions:

  • RHP Shawn Camp signed as Major League free agent (will wear #57) – LHP Lucas Luetge will wear #44
  • LHP Hong-Chih Kuo signed as Major League free agent (will wear #32) – OF Chih-Hsien Chiang will wear #5
  • C Chris Gimenez designated for assignment
  • OF Mike Wilson designated for assignment

Camp, 36, appeared in a team-high 67 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, going 6-3 with 1 save and a 4.21 ERA (31 ER, 66.1 IP). Camp ranked 13th among American League relievers last season in groundball percentage (66.1% - 123 GB, 63 FB) and groundball-to-flyball ratio (1.95). He also induced 12 groundball double plays, tops among AL relievers, and ranked 3rd with 1.63 GDP/9 innings. Since his Major League debut in 2004, Camp has recorded a 67.3% groundball rate (884 GB, 430 FB), 11th-best among AL relievers during that stretch.

Camp has appeared in 432 games (all in relief) in eight Major League seasons with Kansas City (2004-05), Tampa Bay (2006-07) and Toronto (2008-11). His 196 relief appearances over the last three seasons (since 2009) rank 3rd-most in the AL, trailing only Craig Breslow (219) and Brandon League (202).

Kuo, 30, appeared in 40 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, going 1-2, 9.00 ERA (27 ER, 292.1 IP) with 36 strikeouts. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list twice in 2011; April 16-May 1 with lower back strain, and May 12-June 19 with an anxiety disorder. During two rehab stints with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and AAA Albuquerque, he was 0-1, 4.50 ERA (3 ER, 6.0 IP) with 10 strikeouts.

Kuo made the National League All-Star team in 2010, the first-ever Taiwanese All-Star, and finished the season 3-2 with 12 saves (in 13 chances) with a 1.20 ERA (8 ER, 60.0 IP) with 73 strikeouts. His 1.20 ERA is the 11th lowest by a reliever in Major League history (min. 60.0 IP) and his .139 (29x208) opponent batting average is the fifth lowest in MLB history.

He has a career record of 13-17, 3.73 ERA (121 ER, 292.1 IP) with 345 strikeouts in 218 games including 14 starts. He has limited opponents to a career .213 (228x1072) batting average including .205 (67x327) against left-handers. Since 2006, Kuo has struck out 10.81 batters per nine innings, tied for 7th best by a reliever over that span (min. 200.0 IP as reliever). Over his career (including starts), he has struck out 10.62 batters per nine innings.

Kuo was the first Taiwanese high school player to sign a professional contract when he signed with the Dodgers. He is also the first Taiwanese-born player to hit a home run in Major League history (June 12, 2007 vs. NYM). He participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 for Team Chinese Taipei.

Gimenez, 29, appeared in 24 games with the Mariners last season, making 20 starts at three positions (C, 1B, LF). Gimenez was non-tendered on Dec. 12 and re-signed on Dec. 14. In parts of three Major League seasons with the Indians (2009-10) and Mariners (2011), he has appeared in 97 games..

Wilson, 28, split the 2011 season between Seattle and AAA Tacoma. He made his Major League debut on May 10, 2011 at Baltimore and hit .148 (4x27) in his brief stint with the Mariners. He has spent his entire career in the Mariners organization since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 MLB amateur draft.

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