Braves sign Julio to bolster bullpen

Braves sign Julio to bolster 'pen

ANAHEIM -- As their pitching staff continues to be diminished by injuries, the Braves are looking anywhere and everywhere for help. Their most recent reclamation project will be Jorge Julio, the veteran reliever who was released by the Indians last week.

Julio, who served as the Orioles' closer during the early portion of this decade, signed a Minor League contract and will report to Triple-A Richmond on Saturday. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 5.60 ERA and allowed 18 hits, issuing 11 walks in 17 2/3 innings for the Indians.

Before struggling in his final two appearances with the Indians, Julio had worked seven consecutive scoreless appearances, during which he allowed two hits and limited opponents to a .182 on-base percentage.

"We're trying to sign as many pitchers as we can to have an inventory down there [at Richmond]," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Julio, who notched 83 saves while serving as the Orioles primary closer from 2002-2004, could provide a much-needed veteran presence to the Braves bullpen, which has been without Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano most of this season.

Two weeks into the season, Moylan was lost to season-ending elbow ligament replacement surgery. As for Soriano, he spent six weeks on the disabled list and, since being activated, he's not been able to find extended relief for his right elbow.

Soriano played catch in the outfield before Friday's game and didn't appear to have any discomfort. He plans to visit with Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum this weekend. Yocum performed Tommy John elbow surgery on Soriano in 2004.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.