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O's ink Hennessey, Murphy to deals

O's ink Hennessey, Murphy to deals

Going into the offseason, two glaring holes on the Orioles' roster were starting pitching and the shortstop position.

Baltimore addressed those needs -- to some extent -- on Monday, signing right-hander Brad Hennessey and infielder Donnie Murphy to Minor League contracts for 2009. Both will be invited to attend Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

Hennessey, generally viewed as a middle reliever and spot starter, throws a 90-mph-plus fastball with movement. Murphy, mostly a utility infielder, has played his most Major League games -- 48 -- at second base, with 46 at shortstop. He can also play third base.

The 28-year-old Hennessey was a first-round pick of the Giants in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and spent his first five seasons in the Major Leagues with San Francisco, compiling a 17-23 record with a 4.69 ERA in 148 appearances -- 44 of them starts.

Last year, Hennessey saw action in 17 games and started four, going 1-2 with a 7.81 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. But the 6-foot-2 native of Toledo, Ohio, saw the most action at Triple-A Fresno, where he went 7-10 with a 4.83 ERA in 21 starts. He was outrighted on Oct. 8. In his 44 career Major League starts, Hennessey is 11-15 with a 4.72 ERA.

Murphy, 25, was a fifth-round pick by the Royals in 2002 and made his debut two years later. In four years in the Major Leagues -- two with the Royals and two with the Athletics -- the right-handed hitter has a lifetime .191 batting average with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 127 games.

Last year, Murphy saw action in 103 games with Oakland, batting .184 with 13 RBIs. He missed 28 games in 2008 with right elbow inflammation and spent more than a month at Triple-A Sacramento, where he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 36 games.

Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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