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Padres sign three pitchers to stock staff

Padres stock staff by signing three pitchers

SAN DIEGO -- Limited by a tight budget, Padres general manager Kevin Towers said a week ago that he hoped to restock his pitching staff with a few free-agent bargains in the weeks leading up to Spring Training.

Apparently, Towers wasn't willing to wait that long as on Wednesday the team agreed to contracts with three pitchers who are expected to compete for jobs during Spring Training.

The Padres signed right-handed pitchers Kevin Correia, Chris Britton and Oneli Perez to Minor League deals along with catcher Eliezer Alonzo. San Diego also agreed to a one-year deal with infielder Luis Rodriguez.

Correia, 28, is expected to contend for a spot in the starting rotation behind Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Cha Seung Baek. Correia was 3-8 with a 6.05 ERA in 19 starts a year ago with the Giants and owns a 14-22 record and 4.59 ERA over 170 appearances in his career with the Giants, including a 3.45 ERA in 2007.

Correia, a San Diego native who pitched at Grossmont College, will make $750,000 in 2009 if he's on the 25-man Major League roster.

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Britton, 26, will be looked at as a late-inning candidate to handle the seventh inning since reliever Mike Adams won't be back until the All-Star break after having shoulder surgery during the offseason.

Britton had a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings over 15 appearances with the Yankees last season. He is 0-3 with one save and a 3.83 ERA in 78 career appearances with the Orioles (2006) and Yankees (2007-08).

Perez, 25, played for three organizations last season -- the White Sox, Indians and Yankees. He spent two seasons in the Padres organization from 2001-03. He is 26-14 and has 37 saves and a 2.72 ERA in 185 Minor League games in his career.

Alonzo, 29, could prove to be the backup catcher behind Nick Hundley, who impressed during his rookie season in 2008. Alonzo had 11 at-bats for the Giants last season and has a .258 career average in 361 Major League at-bats over three seasons with the Giants.

The Padres avoided going to arbitration with Rodriguez, 28, who hit .287 in 64 games in 2008 and played well at shortstop over the final two months after Khalil Greene broke a bone in his left hand. Rodriguez will earn $675,000 next season.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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