- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From combined dispatches

Steve Trachsel agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who turned to a familiar face to add much-needed experience to their starting rotation.

Trachsel began last season with the Orioles and went 6-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 25 starts before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 31. The right-hander joins a youthful starting rotation for manager Dave Trembley that includes Jeremy Guthrie, Adam Loewen, Daniel Cabrera and Brian Burres.

“Steve was definitely the choice of Dave Trembley and our major league scouts,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. “They thought his professionalism and work ethic would be a good example for the young pitchers in the clubhouse.”

The 37-year-old Trachsel signed as a free agent with Baltimore in February last year after the Orioles learned starter Kris Benson had a torn rotator cuff. Trachsel quickly earned a place in Baltimore’s starting rotation and allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 25 starts.

Although Trachsel received a minor league contract, there is a letter agreement for a major league deal if he is added to the 40-man roster.

“I would be surprised if he didn’t come north with us,” MacPhail said.

ROCKER: John Rocker claims he flunked a drug test ordered by Major League Baseball in 2000 and that he, Alex Rodriguez and other Texas Rangers were advised by management and union doctors following a spring training lecture how to use steroids effectively.

BONDS: The newly installed chief federal prosecutor for Northern California can work directly on the Barry Bonds perjury prosecution and related steroids cases.

U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said the Justice Department had cleared him after investigating whether he had a conflict because of his work in private practice.

PADRES: Shortstop Khalil Greene and San Diego finalized a two-year, $11 million contract, allowing the sides to avoid an arbitration hearing.

ROCKIES: Third baseman Garrett Atkins and Colorado agreed to a one-year contract worth $4,387,500.

Atkins batted .301 with 25 homers and 111 RBI last season for the NL champion Rockies.

PIRATES: First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz agreed to a minor league contract with Pittsburgh.

METS: Right-hander Tony Armas agreed to a minor league contract with New York. Armas was 4-5 with a 6.03 ERA in 15 starts and 16 relief appearances last season.

ASTROS: Craig Biggio agreed to a three-year personal services contract with Houston.

The 42-year-old Biggio retired last season after playing his entire 20-year career with the Astros. He will work as a special assistant to the general manager, helping coach young players as well as assisting on the business side.

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