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Rockies pick up lefty reliever Embree

Rockies pick up lefty reliever Embree

LAS VEGAS -- The Rockies' quest for a left-handed setup reliever has resulted in a one-year agreement with Alan Embree, who pitched last season for the Athletics but has a history of success in the National League West, according to baseball sources.

Embree, who turns 39 on Jan. 23, went 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 70 appearances for the Athletics last season. He pitched previously for the Giants (1999-2001) and Padres (2002 and 2006). He has a deep history with Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, who was the Indians' player development director when Embree was drafted in the fifth round in 1989.

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The Rockies have not confirmed the signing officially. The Denver Post is reporting that the deal will not be announced until after the Rule 5 Draft at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Embree fills one of the Rockies' biggest needs. Last season, the club did not need lefty setup as much because it had a left-handed closer, Brian Fuentes. When the season began, Fuentes actually performed setup for Manuel Corpas. But Fuentes is leaving via free agency, and Corpas is reassuming the ninth inning. Joe Beimel, Will Ohman and Trever Miller, who signed with the Cardinals, were among Colorado's targets.

The Rockies' left-handed bullpen plans are crystallizing during the Winter Meetings. The Rockies are working on a one-year agreement with Glendon Rusch to handle a spot starter and long reliever role.

Otherwise, the Rockies continue to seek starting pitching help, and are in talks with the Nationals about arbitration-eligible righty Tim Redding. The Rockies also discussed Cubs right-hander Jason Maquis, but the Rockies don't want to pay his $9.875 million salary for 2009. Starting pitching could come only if the Rockies are blown away by an offer for third baseman Garrett Atkins. The Rockies and Twins have talked.

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

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