The Braves already had more starting pitchers than could fit into a rotation, and they added more depth Monday by signing veteran right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Lopez, 35, was 7-16 with a 5.00 ERA for Arizona last season in his first full season since ligament-transplant elbow surgery.
General manager Frank Wren said rookies Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy remain the primary candidates for the fifth spot in a starting rotation that features returners Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens.
The Braves also owe veteran Kenshin Kawakami $6.7 million in 2011, but are trying to trade him before the season.
“He pitched pretty well last year at times,” Wren said of Lopez. “He’s a veteran guy. We’ll give him a chance to compete for a spot in the spring and see how it plays out.”
Lopez led the Diamondbacks with 200 innings pitched, issued only 57 walks, and had 15 quality starts in 33 games, tied with Ian