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Pirates make series of minor league signings

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Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have announced the signings of righties Blake Wood, and Deolis Guerra, lefty Jeremy Bleich, and infielder Gustavo Nunez to minor league deals. They also confirmed the signings of pitchers Collin Balester and Brad Lincoln. Also, they have re-signed righties Marek Minarik, Felipe Gonzalez and Tyler Sample and outfielder Junior Sosa, also to minor league deals.

Wood was once a regular in the Royals' bullpen, and he spent last season in the Royals and Indians systems, also making a few appearances in the big leagues. He's a hard thrower, but he's battled control problems throughout his career and his probably just minor league depth.

Guerra, a former top prospect, was once a key part of the 2008 Johan Santana trade between the Mets and Twins. He spent last season pitching in relief for Triple-A Rochester.

Bleich was a first-round pick of the Yankees in 2008 and he got fairly good results for Double-A Trenton last year, but he was 27. He could start or relieve somewhere in the high minors.

Nunez the Pirates' never-seen Rule 5 pick from 2012 who ended up being returned to the Tigers. He made some progress on his hitting with Double-A Mississippi in the Braves' system last year, and he could compete for time in the infield at Altoona or Indianapolis.

It's not clear why Minarik, who pitched in the Pirates' farm system last year, had to be re-signed, but he might be the most interesting player listed here -- he's young (21) and tall, and he throws hard. He might end up pitching for West Virginia at some point next season.

Gonzalez got good results pitching mostly in relief for West Virginia and Bradenton last year and will likely head back to Bradenton in 2015.

Sample is a very tall pitcher who had pretty serious control problems pitching for Bradenton and Altoona last year. Sosa has never hit much, and he'll probably play sparingly at Bradenton or Altoona.