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Reds claim Minors righty Sampson off waivers

CINCINNATI -- The Reds claimed right-hander Keyvius Sampson off waivers from the Padres on Thursday, giving Cincinnati a full 40-man roster.

Sampson, recently designated for assignment by San Diego, was a fourth-round Draft pick in 2009 by the Padres and then-general manager Kevin Towers, who is now part of the Reds' baseball operations department as a special assistant to GM Walt Jocketty.

"He can throw 93 to 96 mph and has four quality pitches," Jocketty said. "It's a low-risk-high-reward move for a $20,000 waiver-claim-acquisition cost. He's making the minimum salary and has options left. We were fairly certain that other clubs behind us [in the order] would have put in claims."

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A 24-year-old, Sampson has no big league experience and is coming off a rocky season in Triple-A. In 2014 he posted a 6.68 ERA in 38 appearances, including 14 starts, for El Paso, with 91 hits, 68 walks and 94 strikeouts over 91 2/3 innings. He spent the second half of the season pitching out of the bullpen.

At Double-A to begin 2013, Sampson had a 2.26 ERA in 19 games, including 18 starts, with 33 walks and 110 strikeouts. He did not transition smoothly to Triple-A in that season, as he posted a 7.11 ERA in nine starts.

Sampson's role for the Reds has yet to be determined. Jocketty believes that some of Sampson's struggles might have been the result of pitching at the higher altitude of El Paso. His home ERA was 8.43 in 20 games, compared with 4.93 in 18 games on the road.

"He has a power arm," Jocketty said. "He had a lot of success in 2013 in Double-A as a starter. We'll bring him to camp to get into form as a starter, but he may end up in the bullpen."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
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