Dodgers sign Ortiz, Amezaga

The Dodgers have signed Ramon Ortiz to a minor-league contract and invited him to big league spring training. But the veteran right-hander faces long odds in his effort to return to the major leagues for the first time since 2007.

The club also finalized its agreement on a minor-league deal with super-utility man Alfredo Amezaga, who is still rehabilitating from last summer's knee surgery.

Ortiz, who will turn 37 during spring training, will compete for a spot in the bullpen but probably will end up as insurance at the Triple-A level.

He spent all of last season with San Francisco's Triple-A Fresno affiliate, going 5-6 with a 3.05 ERA as a swing man who made 16 starts and 19 relief appearances. He spent the 2008 season pitching for the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League, going 4-7 with a 5.82 ERA in 17 starts.

Ortiz last pitched in the majors for Colorado after being traded there by Minnesota midway through the 2007 season. Ortiz was a combined 5-4 with a 5.45 ERA for the Twins and Rockies that year and finished the season working exclusively out of the bullpen.

Ortiz is a 10-year veteran who spent his first six seasons with the Angels, going a combined 44-33 in a three-year stretch from 2001 to 2003. He also spent a season each with Cincinnati and Washington.

Amezaga, 32, missed the final four months of last season with a microfracture in his left knee that eventually required surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation said he isn't expected to be ready to play until the middle to latter part of June.

Largely because of his health issues, Amezaga was non-tendered by the Florida Marlins last fall and has generated little interest on the free-agent market this winter.

But his positional versatility makes him an attractive possibility to a club in the National League, where the lack of a designated hitter and frequent late-inning double switches mean such a player can come in handy to a manager.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.