NEW YORK -- Seeking rotation and bullpen depth, the Mets signed right-handed pitchers Miguel Batista and Fernando Cabrera to Minor League contracts on Tuesday and invited both to Spring Training.
The Mets had been seeking a pitcher capable of joining the rotation but willing to begin the season in Triple-A if no such spots became available. They found one in the 40-year-old Batista, who finished last season with the Mets and won his 100th career game at Citi Field. In four starts and five relief appearances down the stretch for the Mets, Batista posted a 2.64 ERA with 15 strikeouts and 14 walks in 30 2/3 innings.
Like recently signed right-hander Jeremy Hefner and lefty Garrett Olson, Batista should slot into Triple-A Buffalo's rotation unless an injury -- or a setback, in Johan Santana's case -- forces Batista onto the Major League staff. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has made it clear that Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee will not need to compete for their rotation spots this spring.
Cabrera, 30, spent all of last season in the bullpen for Oakland's Triple-A Sacramento affiliate, posting a 2.71 ERA and striking out 73 batters in 63 innings. A former starting pitching prospect for the Indians, Cabrera has pitched in relief in the big leagues for Cleveland, Baltimore and Boston, most recently in 2010.
Cabrera figures to compete with Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco and several others for a spot at the back of the bullpen. Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell appear to have the inside track for bullpen jobs heading into Spring Training.
The Mets also announced Tuesday that they have signed shortstop Sean Kazmar, who will report to Minor League camp. Kazmar, 27, hit .253 with three home runs in 127 games for Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma affiliate last season.