The Rangers announced Saturday that they have signed 25-year-old Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.
Ruiz signed his first professional contract with Tampa Bay on July 26, 2010. He batted .447 (21-for-47) with a homer and nine RBIs in 13 games with Tampa's Dominican Summer League squad and then finished the season with Double-A Montgomery, hitting .272 (25-for-92) with a homer and 11 RBIs in 23 games. He was removed from the Rays' 40-man roster in November and later given his unconditional release.
According to this story, Ruiz's contract with the Rays read that they had to decide by mid-November whether to sign him to a 4-year deal for $4 million or release him. Here's more on him from the DRaysBay blog.
Ruiz is the 13th non-roster invitee for the major league camp.
This also from the Rangers' release on Saturday:
Texas has also signed two players to minor league contracts who have previously appeared in the major leagues: right-handed pitcher Ty Taubenheim and catcher Robinzon Diaz. Both players will be in minor league camp during spring training.
Taubenheim, 28, has gone 1-5 with a 5.09 ERA (26 ER/46.0 IP) over 14 games/9 starts in his big league career with Toronto (2006-07) and Pittsburgh (2008). The 6-foot-5 right-handed split last season with Reading (AA) and Lehigh Valley (AAA) in the Philadelphia organization, combining to go 6-6 with a 4.55 ERA (42 ER/83.0 IP) in 21 games/11 starts.
Diaz, 27, has a career .281 (39-139) average over 44 major league games with Toronto (2008) and Pittsburgh (2008-09). He hit .279 in 41 games with Pittsburgh in 2009. Diaz was in the Detroit organization last season, spending the entire season with Toledo (AAA), where he hit .255 with a home run and 21 RBI. He had just 13 strikeouts in 251 at-bats for the Mud Hens, batting .323 (20-62) off left-handers.