Rangers sign three to minor league deals

The Texas Rangers inked veteran right-hander Yhency Brazoban along with a pair of young international prospects in Hirotoshi Onaka and Alberto Triunfel on Thursday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the players.

The Texas Rangers reportedly signed three players to minor league contracts on Thursday.

According to a club press release, Texas signed veteran right-hander Yhency Brazoban and Japanese outfielder Hirotoshi Onaka.

• The 30-year-old Brazoban made 116 relief appearances––logging 115 innings––for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 2004 and 2008. He had a career-best 2.48 earned-run average in 32 innings as a rookie but a 5.67 ERA while battling injuries in the subsequent three seasons.

The Dominican Republic native did not pitch professionally in '09 after being released by Los Angeles in Spring Training. Brazoban spent most of the '10 season in the Mexican League, logging a 2.22 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 73 frames. He signed a minor league deal with the Mets in mid-August and yielded seven runs in 10.1 innings at Triple-A Buffalo, walking five and striking out 10.

The 6-foot-1, 250-pound hurler is currently pitching for Licey of the Dominican Winter League, where he has yielded 12 runs on 23 hits in 13 innings.

Brazoban did not receive an invitation to big league camp with the Rangers.

• Onaka, 22, is a switch-hitting centerfielder that signed with the Rangers after going unselected in the Nippon Professional Baseball (Japanese League) draft. He batted .327 with five home runs during a 75-game, four-year career at International Pacific University in Okayama, Japan.

The 5-foot-8 outfielder becomes the second Japanese player to be signed by Texas this offseason. The club inked 34-year-old sidearming righty Yoshinori Tateyama to a big league deal in late November.

Baseball America's Ben Badler tweets that the Rangers have also signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Alberto Triunfel for a $300,000 bonus.

The brother of Mariners shortstop prospect Carlos Triunfel, Alberto was ranked by Baseball America as the #21 international amateur prospect on this year's July 2 market.

Triunfel most recently appeared in eight games with the Dominican Prospect League, and the circuit wrote the following scouting report on the prospect's signing:

Triunfel has been on the radar for several years because his brother is Mariners shortstop Carlos Triunfel, who signed with Seattle in 2006 for $1.3 million. Like his older brother, Alberto Triunfel is also represented by the Scott Boras Corp. and trains in Santo Domingo with Javier Rodriguez. Alberto and Carlos don't have too many similarities on the baseball field. While Carlos was a stocky 16-year-old who stood out for his bat, Alberto is a thin-framed athlete who has a better chance to remain in the middle of the diamond. He moves around well at shortstop, showing good hands and actions with the ability to make the flashy play. Triunfel's arm strength is fringe-average and he's an average runner, so he might move to second base. The biggest concern is how much he will hit as he moves up the ladder, though reports from some scouts are that his hitting has improved. After participating in 8 DPL games Triunfel agrees to terms with the Texas Rangers for $300,000.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound middle infielder is the second July 2 prospect Texas has signed this offseason. The Rangers reportedly gave fellow Dominican shortstop Luis Marte a $215,000 bonus in early November. Dutch shortstop Nick Urbanus, 18, also inked with the Rangers later that month.

Brazoban is expected to compete for a bullpen spot at Double-A Frisco or Triple-A Round Rock in Spring Training. Onaka and Triunfel are likely to play at the lower levels, perhaps with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers of the Arizona League.



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