Jeremy Moore, Rusty Ryal among 5 Dodgers signed to minor league deals

Harry How

The Dodgers signed five more players to minor league contracts, including two with links to not-so-great moments in team history.

The Dodgers added to their stable of minor league signings over the holidays, with the addition of five new players per Matt Eddy of Baseball America. The recent signings include left-handed pitchers Fabio Castro and Wilmin Rodriguez, infielders Omar Luna and Rusty Ryal, and outfielder Jeremy Moore.

Ryal is best known to Dodgers fans for hitting a line drive off the face of Hiroki Kuroda on Aug. 15, 2009, when Ryal was with the Diamondbacks. Ryal hit .263/.318/.402 in 134 games in 2009-2010 with Arizona, then went to Japan where he hit .198/.238/.240 in 33 games for the Yomiuri Giants in 2011. Ryal, who turns 30 in March, began 2012 back in the Diamondbacks' system with Triple-A Reno but was released in June. Ryal signed with the Braves and finished out the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, and hit a combined .257/.294/.384 in 92 games on the season.

Ryal has primary played second and third base throughout his career, and he added 15 games in left field in 2012.

Moore, who turns 26 in June, is one of 13 Dodgers minor leaguers to take part next week in their sixth annual winter development camp, held this year at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. He missed all of 2012 after hip surgery, but hit .298/.331/.545 for Triple-A Salt Lake in 2011 with 24 doubles, 18 triples, and 15 home runs in 113 games. Moore saw a cup of coffee with the Angels in September 2011 and had one hit in eight at-bats in eight games.

Castro, who will be 28 in 17 days, was 5-14 with a 5.60 ERA in 28 games, including 23 starts between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento in the Athletics system in 2012, with 100 strikeouts and 68 walks in 125⅓ innings. Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner speculated that Castro is likely to join the Isotopes' rotation, which seems likely given Castro's 119 career games and 71 career starts at the Triple-A level. Castro last saw time in the majors in 2007 with the Phillies, and is 0-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 career major league games, including one start, with 32 strikeouts and 26 walks in 43⅔ innings with the Rangers and Phillies.

Castro was the player to be named later sent to the Blue Jays in 2008 to complete the Aug. 30 trade of Matt Stairs to the Phillies. Stairs sucked the air out of Dodger Stadium with a mammoth home run off Jonathan Broxton in Game 4 of that year's NLCS, giving the eventual World Series champion Phillies an insurmountable 3-1 series lead.

Rodriguez, who turns 28 in May, was 5-5 with a 5.92 ERA in 62⅓ innings for Triple-A Fresno in the Giants' system in 2012, with 34 strikeouts and 31 walks in his 37 games.

Luna, 26, hit .315/.369/.389 for Double-A Montgomery in the Rays' system in 2012. It was by far the best offensive season for Luna, a career .261/.299/.325 hitter in 539 minor league games. Luna played all over the field for Montgomery, including 60 games at third base, 42 games in left field, 11 games in right field, seven games at second base, and five games at shortstop. He played 47 games at second base in 2011 and has played 153 games at shortstop in six seasons, including 31 games in 2010.

I'm not sure yet whether any of these five players have invitations to big league camp in spring training, but at the very least will provide Triple-A Albuquerque with some depth in 2013.

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