Blue Jays invite Perez, Nickeas, LaRoche to camp
Left-hander, catcher and infielder sign Minor League deals with Toronto
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays outrighted left-hander Juan Perez off the 40-man roster on Tuesday afternoon but then immediately signed him to a Minor League contract.
Perez will remain in the organization and has received an invitation to next year's Spring Training. Catcher Mike Nickeas and infielder Andy LaRoche also signed Minor League deals and will take part in camp.
The 35-year-old Perez became one of the Blue Jays' feel-good stories of the 2013 season. He entered the year with very limited experience in the Major Leagues but proceeded to start his tenure in Toronto with 22 1/3 scoreless innings.
Perez eventually had his year cut short on Aug. 6 when he sustained a left elbow injury. The original belief was that he would require Tommy John surgery, but Perez opted to rehab the injury, and it's possible he'll be fully healthy by the start of Spring Training.
LaRoche spent the vast majority of the 2013 season with Triple-A Buffalo. He appeared in just one game with the Blue Jays, and hit .271 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs for the Bisons. LaRoche will once again help provide some veteran depth in the Minor Leagues.
Nickeas also appeared in just one game for Toronto this year. The veteran backup catcher played in 58 games for Buffalo and hit just .166 with a .507 OPS. He'll also help provide some depth in the Minor Leagues but isn't expected to play a role on the big league club.