Cubs add Mercker to bullpen
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs got another left-hander for their bullpen, agreeing Thursday to a one-year contract with Kent Mercker.
Mercker had one of the best seasons of his career last year, finishing with a 1.95 ERA in 67 games for Cincinnati and Atlanta, the team that launched his career. Opponents hit just .227 against him, and he had a 10-inning scoreless streak from July 24-Aug. 15.
The Braves traded for Mercker in August, hoping the man who helped them win four division championships and a World Series title could stabilize a shaky bullpen. He didn't disappoint, allowing just two earned runs in 17 innings as the Braves won their 12th straight division title.
Mercker made one appearance in Atlanta's division series against the Cubs, pitching a scoreless inning.
Improving the bullpen has been one of Chicago general manager Jim Hendry's priorities this offseason. He already signed LaTroy Hawkins, and Mercker gives the Cubs another option for a left-handed setup man along with Mike Remlinger, another former Brave.
Mercker, 35, is a career 66-64 with 20 saves and a 4.27 ERA in parts of 14 seasons with Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Boston, Anaheim and Colorado. A starter early in his career, he's worked solely out of the bullpen the last two seasons and has a 3.67 ERA as a reliever.
Mercker was part of some memorable moments during his first stint with Atlanta. In 1991, the year the Braves won the first of 11 straight division titles, he teamed with Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena on the first combined no-hitter in National League history.
Three years later, in just the 12th start of his career, Mercker threw a no-hitter all by himself against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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