Jays Sign Four to Minor League Contracts

Jays Sign Four to Minor League Contracts

The Toronto Blue Jays announced today that they have re-signed four Minor League Free Agents to minor league deals. Outfielder Chad Mottola, infielder Kevin Barker and Danny Solano, as well as pitcher Adrian Burnside have been signed for the 2006 season.

The 34-year-old Mottola has played three seasons for Syracuse (2000, 2002, 2005) and his 67 home runs in a Syracuse uniform rank 4th in franchise history. In 2005 Mottola hit .255 with 21 HR and 69 RBI in 125 games for Syracuse. In his first season with Syracuse he was named the 2000 International League MVP after he led the IL with 33 home runs, ranked second with 102 RBI and ranked seventh with a .309 Batting Average. In addition to his power numbers he finished the season with 30 stolen bases and became the first player in Syracuse franchise history to collect 30 or more HR and steal 30 or more bases in the same season .The 6'3", 220 lb outfielder was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds with the 5th overall pick in the 1992 draft and has appeared in 49 Major League games with the Cincinnati Reds (1996), Toronto Blue Jays (2000), Florida Marlins (2001), and Baltimore Orioles (2004).

The 30-year-old Barker set a Syracuse franchise record for RBI in a month collecting 41 in 28 June games last season. After beginning the season in Double-A New Hampshire Barker hit .305 with 23 Home runs and 87 RBI in 91 games for Syracuse. He became the first Syracuse player with 350 or more at-bats to finish the season with a Batting Average over .300 since ORLANDO HUDSON (.305) in 2001. Barker's 114 RBI between New Hampshire and Syracuse last season tied the Blue Jays Minor League record for RBI in a season set by Tim Giles (Knoxville) in 1999. The 6'3", 200 lb first baseman was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 3rd round of the 1996 draft and has appeared in 85 Major League games with the Milwaukee Brewers (1999-2000) and San Diego Padres (2002).

The 29-year-old Solano, spent the entire 2005 season with Syracuse hitting .243 with 3 HR and 22 RBI. Solano showed his versatility appearing in 57 games including 32 at second base, 15 at third base and eight at shortstop. In 2004 SOLANO appeared in nine games for Syracuse (.200-0-3) and spent the majority of the season with Blue Jays Double-A affiliate, the 2004 Eastern League Champion New Hampshire Fisher Cats hitting .234 with 1 HR and 22 RBI for new SkyChiefs manager Mike Basso. The 5'9" 170 lb infielder was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Texas Rangers in 1996 and has no Major League experience.

The 28-year-old Burnside appeared in 50 games for Syracuse in 2005 tying him with Spike Lundberg for the team lead. The left-handed reliever held opposing left-handers to a .185 average and finished the season with a 4-4 record and a 2.98 ERA pitching 57.1 innings, striking out 45 opponents and walking 16. Burnside, a native of Alice Springs Australia, was a member of the Australian Olympic Baseball Team that captured a Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The 6'3", 210 lb left-handed pitcher was originally signed as non-drafted free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 and has no Major League experience.

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