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03/05/09 4:47 PM ET

Phils sign righty Lopez to Minors deal

Veteran starter will report to Minor League camp after Classic

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies signed right-hander Rodrigo Lopez to a Minor League contract on Thursday.

Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Thursday that a Phillies scout recently looked at Lopez, who is pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Lopez will join the Phils' Minor League camp after the Classic.

Lopez has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2007 with the Rockies, and he went 5-4 with a 4.42 ERA in 14 starts.

Lopez had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in August 2007 and spent most of '08 recovering. The Braves signed Lopez to a Minor League deal toward the end of last season, but they did not exercise the option they had on him.

If Lopez, who is 65-65 with a 4.80 ERA in his seven-year big league career, pitches well this spring, he would open the season in the rotation for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Lopez won 15 games for the Orioles in 2002 and '05.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.