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Blues Jays sign Andy LaRoche to minor-league deal

The journeyman younger brother of Nats' first baseman Adam will vie for a spot on Toronto's roster in big-league camp.

Christian Petersen

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor-league contract and extended him an invitation to spring training in two weeks' time, the team has announced.

LaRoche, 29, failed to reach the big leagues in 2012 for the first time in five years, spending his time instead with the Red Sox and Indians' Triple-A affiliates.

Once a top prospect in the Dodgers' farm system, the right-handed hitting infielder batted just .251/.335/.422 with 12 home runs in 96 games on the year, his fifth season of Triple-A ball.

LaRoche has not had the big-league success of his older brother, Adam, but he has still gotten his fair share of major-league playing time. Traded by the Dodgers to the Pirates in a three-team deal midway through 2008 -- his sophomore season -- LaRoche earned the starting third base job with Pittsburgh the following year and played well, batting .258/.330/.401 with 12 home runs in 150 games.

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LaRoche's numbers plummeted the following season, and his playing time went with it. He latched on to a deal with the A's in 2011 but appeared in only 40 games as a utility infielder of sorts.

It's unlikely that LaRoche will play a big factor in Toronto this year, but he could potentially see some playing time if/when back-up infielder Maicer Izturis makes his annual trip to the disabled list.