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01/18/2006 6:44 PM ET
Rockies sign free agent RHP Keiichi Yabu to Minor League contract
LHP Tom Martin and 1B Carlos Rivera also signed to Minor League deals
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DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies announced this afternoon that they have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed pitcher Keiichi Yabu (kay-eechi YA-boo). The club has also signed left-handed pitcher Tom Martin and first baseman Carlos Rivera to minor league deals. All three players will be invited to major league spring training camp.

Yabu, 37, made his major league debut for Oakland last year after spending 11 seasons pitching for Hanshin in the Japanese Central League. He went 4-0 with one save and a 4.50 ERA (58.0 ip, 29 er) in 40 relief appearances for the A's in 2005. Over an 11-year career in Japan, Yabu compiled a career record of 84-106, 3.54 in 268 games/236 starts.

Martin, 35, split last season with the Atlanta and Houston organizations, making 4 major league appearances for the Braves. He was released by Atlanta in April and, after pitching for Houston's Triple-A Round Rock affiliate, was released by the Astros organization in June. He has gone 9-9 with a 4.88 ERA in 282 relief appearances in his major league career. Martin made a career-high 80 appearances for Los Angeles in 2003, holding first batters faced that season to just a .100 (7-for-70) average.

Rivera, 27, spent last season with Round Rock (AAA) in the Houston organization, batting .312 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI in 129 games. Entering his 11th pro season this year, Rivera was in the Pittsburgh organization from 1996-2004, appearing in 85 big league games for the Pirates in 2003-04. He hit his first major league home run at Coors Field on August 9, 2003, a pinch-hit solo shot off Steve Reed. A career .285 hitter in the minor leagues, he has consistently been rated among his leagues' top defensive first basemen.

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