Sports

Padres ink Valverde to minor league deal

San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Three-time All-Star closer Jose Valverde was among eight players the San Diego Padres signed to minor league contracts on Monday.

Veteran infielder Ramiro Pena and reliever Scott Elbert also agreed to deals with the Padres along with first baseman Brett Wallace, pitchers Marcos Mateo, Jay Jackson and Jason Lane and catcher Griff Erickson.

Valverde was released by the New York Mets in May of last season after posting a 5.66 ERA over 21 appearances. He also struggled with the Detroit Tigers the previous year, recording a 5.59 ERA and nine saves in 20 outings prior to being sent to the minors in June.

The 36-year-old led the majors with a career-best 49 saves with the Tigers in 2011, and also topped all of baseball with 47 while with Arizona in 2007. Valverde's 44 saves with Houston the following year was the most in the National League.

Pena hit .245 in 81 games with Atlanta in 2014, but was outrighted off the Braves' 40-man roster in November.

Elbert returned from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him the entire 2013 season to pitch in seven games for the Dodgers last year. The left-hander owns a 3.54 ERA over 127 career appearances, all with Los Angeles.

Lane hit 26 homers as an outfielder with the Astros in 2005, then returned to the majors after a seven-year absence as a pitcher in the Padres' organization last season. The 38-year-old spent most of 2014 at Triple-A El Paso, compiling a 9-9 record with a 4.52 ERA over 24 starts.