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Padres ink righty Wilhelmsen to Minors deal

MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres added another piece to their bullpen mix Tuesday afternoon, inking former Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen to a Minor League deal.

The 34-year-old Wilhelmsen posted a 4.44 ERA in 27 appearances with the Diamondbacks last season. He spent most of 2012 and '13 as the closer for Seattle, and has racked up 68 career saves over seven big league seasons.

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres added another piece to their bullpen mix Tuesday afternoon, inking former Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen to a Minor League deal.

The 34-year-old Wilhelmsen posted a 4.44 ERA in 27 appearances with the Diamondbacks last season. He spent most of 2012 and '13 as the closer for Seattle, and has racked up 68 career saves over seven big league seasons.

Wilhelmsen will receive an invite to Major League camp, joining a crowded group of relievers fighting for the final two or three bullpen places.

Brad Hand, Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen and Kazuhisa Makita all have their tickets punched for the Opening Day roster. The Padres will likely use another bullpen spot for a long reliever/spot-starter type of pitcher; Jordan Lyles and Matt Strahm are options.

That leaves two or three places available. Wilhelmsen will compete with Carter Capps, Colten Brewer, Phil Maton and Buddy Baumann, among others.

Wilhelmsen owns a career 3.53 ERA and 1.27 WHIP during his time with three different clubs, the Mariners, Rangers and D-backs.

Contract with El Paso extended

On Tuesday, the Padres announced they have extended their player-development contract with the El Paso Chihuahuas through the 2020 season.

Tweet from @Padres: The #Padres and @epchihuahuas announce a two-year player development contract extension through 2020. pic.twitter.com/0EhRbK02K0

El Paso is coming off three consecutive division titles, including a Pacific Coast League championship in 2016. It has been the location for the Padres' Triple-A affiliate since '13.

"We are extremely proud to continue our partnership with El Paso," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said in a statement. "El Paso provides our top prospects with not only best-in-class facilities but also a truly passionate fan base."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Tom Wilhelmsen