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Bucs ink two players to Minor League deals

Team signs right-hander Rodriguez, outfielder Cunningham
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced a pair of Minor League free-agent deals on Thursday, officially agreeing to sign outfielder Todd Cunningham and right-hander Richard Rodriguez.

Both players were invited to big league Spring Training camp, and both have spent some time in the Majors.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced a pair of Minor League free-agent deals on Thursday, officially agreeing to sign outfielder Todd Cunningham and right-hander Richard Rodriguez.

Both players were invited to big league Spring Training camp, and both have spent some time in the Majors.

Cunningham, 28, hit .284 with an .819 OPS while playing all three outfield spots in 96 Triple-A games last season. A second-round Draft pick by the Braves in 2010, Cunningham was named Atlanta's Minor League player of the year in 2012 and made his MLB debut in 2013. He returned to the Majors in 2015 with the Braves and again with the Angels in '16. He split last season between the Cardinals' and Dodgers' Triple-A affiliates.

Cunningham, a switch-hitter, owns a .207/.256/.264 slash line in 130 plate appearances in the Majors. He figures to begin the season in Triple-A Indianapolis, sharing the outfield with top prospect Austin Meadows. The Pirates did not have an outfielder with Major League experience on their Triple-A roster last season.

Rodriguez, 27, recorded a 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 80 strikeouts with only 18 walks in 70 2/3 innings over 42 appearances for the Orioles' Triple-A Norfolk affiliate last season. He made his big league debut for Baltimore in September, allowing nine runs on 12 hits (including four homers) in 5 2/3 innings over five outings.

Signed by the Astros in 2010, Rodriguez was purchased by the Orioles in 2015. Over parts of four seasons in Triple-A, Rodriguez has posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Richard Rodriguez