LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have signed pitcher David Aardsma to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big league camp in spring training, the right-hander announced on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. Aardsma will join his new team when pitchers and catchers report to Dodgers camp at Camelback Ranch on Thursday.
Aardsma had a 1.29 ERA with 11 saves in 33 games with Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals' system in 2014, with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 35 innings. The 33-year-old has pitched in parts of eight major league seasons from 2004-2013, putting up a 4.23 ERA and 102 ERA+ in 298 relief appearances, with 305 strikeouts and 169 walks in 306⅓ innings with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox, Mariners, Yankees and Mets.
Earlier in his career, Aardsma averaged 94-95 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball, but started to go downhill after hip surgery in 2010 and Tommy John surgery in 2011. After averaging just over 92 mph in 2012-2013, Aardsma was between 88-92 mph in Triple-A in 2014.
The right-hander spent the bulk of his offseason working with a company called Top Velocity, trying to regain his prior form.
"I needed to make a change. I needed to find out why I was hurting myself, why the ball wasn't coming out any harder," Aardsma said. "I'm 33 years old, I've been banged up. I'm declining in my performance. If I want to play this game any longer, if I see myself as not giving up, I needed to work harder. I needed to put in those hours to make significant changes."
With Aardsma, who saved 69 games for the Mariners in 2009-2010, the Dodgers will have 19 non-roster invitees in big league camp.
At the very least, Aardsma should provide a solid sense of humor in camp. Earlier in February Aardsma made light of the fact that he is listed first alphabetically among players in major league history.
Happy birthday to the 2nd man in the baseball encyclopedia Hank Aaron #1inourhearts— David Aardsma (@TheDA53) February 5, 2015