Pitcher is Arizona's second free-agent signing

Updated: December 10, 2004, 8:37 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Arizona Diamondbacks kept busy Friday, signing free-agent pitcher Russ Ortiz to a $33 million, four-year deal a day after agreeing to terms with third baseman Troy Glaus.

Russ Ortiz
Ortiz

"I could see that they were serious," Ortiz said after slipping on a Diamondbacks jersey as Glaus looked on. "Winning's important. I wanted to be a part of what they're trying to accomplish.

"They convinced my from Day 1 they were headed in that direction," he said.

The Diamondbacks are trying to rebound from this year's 51-111 finish that left them last in the NL West. They signed Glaus, the 2002 World Series MVP, to a four-year, $45 million deal even before baseball's winter meetings revved up, and they are trying to trade ace Randy Johnson or sign him to an extension.

"Randy is obviously an icon for this city," Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said. "We'd love to have Randy be with us and finish his career with us. I think he knows that."

Ortiz went 15-9 with a 4.13 ERA and 204 2/3 innings for the Atlanta Braves, but he slumped near the end of the year and won just twice in his last 10 regular-season starts.

Ortiz started Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Houston Astros and gave up five runs in three innings. Atlanta was eliminated in five games.

Since the end of the season, Arizona also hired manager Bob Melvin. He got the job after the Diamondbacks decided to hire Wally Backman but then cut him loose after revelations that he'd had legal problems.

"The new Diamondbacks are representative ... of the type of guys we want to go forward with," Kendrick said.

Ortiz pitched five seasons for the San Francisco Giants before going to Atlanta and pitching two years with the Braves, making the NL All-Star team in 2003 when he went 21-7 with a 3.81 ERA. He is 103-60 record with a 4.00 ERA in his career with 1,004 strikeouts in 1,341 2/3 career innings.

Ortiz is one of three pitchers, with Bartolo Colon and Greg Maddux, to win at least 14 games in each of the past six seasons, and his 77 wins since the 2000 All-Star break is the most in the NL. He has not missed a start in his career.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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