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Cubs reportedly sign righty reliever

Joe Nicholson - USA Today Sports

Joe Nicholson – USA Today Sports

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Tony Barnette have agreed to terms on a 2019 contract with a club option for the 2020 campaign. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Additionally, left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.

Barnette, 35, went 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA (7 ER/26.1 IP) in 22 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last season. He struck out approximately one batter per inning (26 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched) while posting a 0.91 WHIP thanks in part to issuing only five walks in 26.1 innings. Barnette limited foes to a .196 (19-for-97) batting average, including a .167 (5-for-30) mark by lefties and a .209 (14-for-67) mark by righties. His season came to an end in early July due to a right shoulder strain.

Overall, Barnette is 11-4 with a 3.50 ERA (56 ER/144.0 IP) in 125 career major league relief appearances covering the

last three seasons with Texas (2016-18).

Barnette was originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th round of the 2006 Draft out of Arizona State University. He pitched in Arizona’s minor league system for four seasons before joining the Yakult Swallows in 2010, for whom he pitched for six seasons. Barnette made 260 relief appearances during his time with the Swallows and tallied 41 saves and a 1.29 ERA in his final season in Japan in 2015, leading to signing a two-year contract with Texas prior to the 2016 campaign.

The righthander was born in Anchorage, Alaska and attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn, Washington. No player born in the state of Alaska has ever appeared in a game for the Cubs.

Clarkin, 23, was claimed off waivers from the White Sox on January 16. The White Sox had claimed Clarkin off waivers from the Cubs on November 26, 2018 after the Cubs had originally claimed him from the White Sox on November 20.

Chicago’s 40-man roster stands at 39 players.

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