Orioles sign RHP Russ Ortiz

Updated: June 25, 2006, 2:38 PM ET
SportsTicker

BALTIMORE - As if Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone didn't have enough work on his hands.

Entering the day with the second-worst team ERA in the major leagues, the Orioles on Sunday signed righthander Russ Ortiz to a contract for the remainder of the season.

Mazzone served as pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves for 15 1/2 years, helping the team's staff finish in the top two in ERA in the National League 12 of the last 14 campaigns while producing nine 20-game winners and six Cy Young Awards. He elected to leave the cozy confines of Atlanta over the winter for Baltimore, where he has not enjoyed much success to date.

Ortiz, who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, presents yet another challenge for Mazzone.

One of the 20-game winners while in Atlanta with Mazzone, the 32-year-old Ortiz never found his groove in Arizona after signing a four-year, $33 million contract in December 2004. The righthander went 5-11 with a 6.89 ERA in an injury-marred 2005 campaign with the Diamondbacks and has been even worse this season, going 0-5 with a 7.54 ERA in six outings.

An All-Star in 2003, Ortiz is 108-76 with a 4.28 ERA in eight-plus seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta and Arizona.

To make room on the roster for Ortiz, the Orioles optioned pitcher Adam Loewen to Class AAA Ottawa of the International League. In seven games, including five starts, the lefthander went 0-2 with a 7.12 ERA.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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