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Phillies sign Willis

Left-hander Dontrelle Willis signed a one-year contract with the Phillies, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Willis, 29, made 13 starts for the Cincinnati Reds last season, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA.  In 11 of his 13 starts, he posted a 3.88 ERA and in 10 of the 13 he allowed three earned runs or less.  Willis held left-handed hitters to a .127 (7-55) batting average with only two extra-base hits.

“Dontrelle, I believe, is at a point in his career where he is ready to make the transition to being an effective reliever,” said Amaro.  “Because of his experience, past success and overall positive energy, we feel this will be an opportunity to benefit both him and the team, especially with the success he has had against left-handed hitters, both recently and over the course of his career.”

Over the four-year span of 2003-06, Willis had the second-most complete games (15) among all National League pitchers, trailing only Livan Hernandez (19).  His 58 wins over that time was tied for fourth-most in the league.

A two-time NL All-Star (2003, 2005), Willis won the 2003 NL Rookie of the Year Award and helped the Florida Marlins to the World Series championship that year.  In 2005, he finished second in the NL Cy Young Award voting after leading the league with 22 wins, seven complete games and five shutouts.  The following spring he pitched for Team U.S.A. in the World Baseball Classic.

Originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2000 draft, Willis is 72-69 in his career with a 4.17 ERA in 205 games (202 starts) with the Marlins (2003-07), Detroit Tigers (2008-10), Arizona Diamondbacks (2010) and Reds (2011).  As a hitter (left-handed), he owns a .244 career batting average with 13 doubles, six triples, nine home runs and 39 RBI, including a .286 (6-21) mark as a pinch-hitter with a double and a triple.

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