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Athletics sign Joe Blanton to minor league contract

The 33-year old returns to the organization that originally drafted him in 2002.

Jamie Squire

The Oakland Athletics have signed right-hander Joe Blanton to a minor league contract, according to a team announcement. Blanton, who will be in the starting rotation at Triple-A Sacramento, was released by the Angels last week.

By signing with Oakland, Blanton returns to the city where he spent the first five seasons of his major league career. In 122 appearances (118 starts) from 2004-2008 with the A's, the 33-year old posted a 47-46 record and 4.51 ERA, with his best season coming in 2007 (14-10, 3.95 ERA in 34 starts).

After signing a two-year, $15M contract with the Angels before the 2013 season, Blanton posted a 2-14 record and 6.04 ERA in 28 appearances (20 starts) last season. The Angels added young starters like Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago this winter, forcing Blanton out of his rotation spot and ultimately leading to his release after he posted a 7.08 ERA in 20.1 innings during spring training.

The Athletics' starting rotation seems set, with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone stepping up after the loss of Jarrod Parker to season-ending Tommy John surgery. Blanton will head to Sacramento in hopes of cracking the major league roster if the need arises, but could also parlay a strong Triple-A performance into a major league opportunity with another club looking for pitching depth.