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Phillies sign Dontrelle Willis

The Philadelphia Phillies signed pitcher year contract Thursday.

Willis made 13 starts for the Cincinnati Reds last season, recording a 1-6 record with a 5.00 earned run average.

But the Phillies intend to use the nine-year veteran primarily out of the bullpen for the first time in his career as a left-handed specialist, as he held left-handed hitters to a .127 average (7-for-55) with two extra-base hits last season.

"Dontrelle, I believe, is at a point in his career where he is ready to make the transition to being an effective reliever," Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro said. "Because of his experience, past success and overall positive energy, we feel this will be an opportunity to benefit both him and the team, especially with the success he has had against left- handed hitters, both recently and over the course of his career."

The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star, Willis has a career 72-69 record with a 4.17 ERA in 205 games -- 202 starts -- with Florida, Detroit, Arizona and Cincinnati.