Orioles apologize to organizations

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles have apologized to two South Korean baseball organizations upset with the club over its contract with a local high school pitcher.

The Korea Baseball Association said Friday that the Orioles violated local rules that bar the signing of student players until their graduation year. KBA officials said the Orioles signed 17-year-old left-hander Kim Seong-min last month.

Dan Duquette, Baltimore's new executive vice president of baseball operations, apologized to the Korea Baseball Organization and the Korea Baseball Association for an "unintentional breach of protocol in failing to tender a status check in the process of signing" Kim.

"The Orioles respect Major League Baseball's recruiting policies and the governing bodies and people that contribute to the growth of baseball around the world," Duquette said in a release issued Friday night.

It's unclear if the apology will affect the KBA's decision to ban Orioles scouts from attending its games.

Also Friday, the Orioles announced deals with right-hander Luis Ayala and first baseman Nick Johnson, and designated outfielder Matt Angle for assignment.

Ayala agreed to a one-year contract that includes a club option for 2013. The 34-year-old reliever went 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 52 games with the New York Yankees last season.

Johnson received a minor league deal and was invited to spring training. The oft-injured Johnson hasn't appeared in a major league game since 2010.