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Updated: January 30th, 2012 5:21pm
Pat Neshek signs deal with Baltimore Orioles; wants to limit the walks

Pat Neshek signs deal with Baltimore Orioles; wants to limit the walks

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Former Minnesota Twins right-hander Pat Neshek is back in the American League.

The 31-year-old sidewinder signed a one-year minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

"I loved just about everything about San Diego and it was hard not being in their plans," Neshek said via email, adding he's equally optimistic about his new opportunity in Baltimore.

"I really like the O's deal because I will have to pitch well to get called up. If not I can get consistent work in Triple-A. ... I really haven't had much consistent work over the past four seasons."

After being waived by the Twins in mid-March last season, Neshek was claimed by the San Diego Padres, where he posted a 4.01 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 21 unintentional walks in 24 2/3 innings. He also posted a 4.10 ERA with 13 strikeouts and nine unintentional walks in 26 1/3 innings for San Diego's Triple-A affiliate.

Neshek was one of the Twins' most effective relievers in 2006 and 2007, striking out 127 batters in 107 1/3 innings, but he hasn't been able to recapture the same form since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2008.

"I really want to focus on (limiting) the walks this year and that's something I discussed with (Padres manager) Bud Black last year in SD," Neshek said. "He told to just throw strikes and I should have a job for a long time."

Neshek said 11 teams showed interest, but the Orioles seemed like the best fit. If he makes the team out of spring training, his Orioles host the Twins on opening day, April 6.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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In this story: Pat Neshek
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