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Blue Jays sign Randy Choate to minor-league deal

The veteran lefty will provide insurance for the Jays, who recently lost Aaron Loup to an elbow injury.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran left-hander Randy Choate, according to WFAN's Sweeny Murti. The deal includes an invitation to major-league spring training.

Choate, 40, has endured a slow winter on the free-agent market, with the Astros showing the strongest reported interest as of earlier in the month. Houston instead signed Neal Cotts to a minor-league deal, likely ending its pursuit of Choate and forcing the latter to look elsewhere.

Choate joins Wade LeBlanc, Chad Girodo, Pat Venditte (sometimes) and Aaron Loup as lefties in the Blue Jays' mix ahead of southpaw closer Brett Cecil, and will likely compete for a spot in the team's major-league rotation. Loup is currently dealing with an elbow strain and may not be ready for Opening Day, leading to Toronto bringing in Choate to provide additional depth.

Choate spent last season with the Cardinals, posting a 3.95 ERA in 27.1 innings spread out over 71 appearances as a situational lefty. He is a veteran of 15 major-league seasons with the Yankees (2000-03), Diamondbacks (2004-07), Rays (2009-10), Marlins (2011-12), Dodgers (2012) and Cardinals (2013-15), and owns a career 3.90 ERA in that time.