March 2, 2012; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Nelson Figueroa (57) poses for a portrait during photo day at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Minor League Transactions: Blue Jays sign one, release five

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Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (@eddymk) released his latest edition of minor league transactions yesterday for the week of March 27-April 5, and there were a few Toronto nuggets on the list.

The Blue Jays signed big right-handed reliever Evan Englebrook, who is likely ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas. Englebrook, 29, was an eighth round pick by the Houston Astros in 2004 and Baseball America ranked him their 23rd-best prospect in 2010 based primarily on his mid-90s fastball. After trying his hand at starting in his first three professional seasons, Englebrook was eventually shifted to full-time relief and made it up to Triple-A in 2009 but failed to make any noise and was released during the 2010 season.

The 6-foot-8, Pennsylvania native spent the 2011 campaign pitching for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, where he managed a 6.05 ERA in 22 1/3 innings with 18 strikeouts, 11 walks and five home runs.

The Jays also released catcher Garrett Maines, shortstop Garis Pena and right-handed pitchers Nelson Figueroa, Sean Shoffit and Steve Turnbull.

Maines was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 19th round in 2009 but opted to finish his degree instead of signing a pro contract. After playing one year of independent ball and finishing his degree, Maines signed with the Blue Jays, appearing in 15 games for the Gulf Coast League Jays in 2010 before logging 76 at-bats and being on the Northwest League Championship-winning Vancouver Canadians squad last season. For more information on Maines, read his interview with MLB Reports back on February 26.

Pena, 20, was signed by the Jays out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and limped to a dismal .199/.245/.289 slash line in 77 games for the GCL Jays from 2009-10. He received a promotion to Lansing last season as a 19-year-old, where he once again struggled offensively with a .214 average and .550 OPS.

©Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Figueroa, 37, was signed by the Jays to a minor league contract back in January and would have earned $650k had he made the major league roster. The Brooklyn, New York native spent the 2011 season with the Houston Astros and appeared in two games for the Jays this spring, giving up one earned run on a pair of hits while walking two.

Shoffit,26, was a 15th-round pick by the Jays back in 2005. The left-handed hitter played every infield position except catcher and shortstop during his time with the Jays, finishing with a career .240/.340/.375 slash line over his six minor league seasons, last playing a game for a Jays affiliate in 2010. He also pitched that year, managing a 6.17 ERA and 3.57 K:BB ratio in 19 appearances split between the GCL Jays and Auburn.

Turnbull, 25, was a 17th round pick by the Jays in 2009 and played short season ball with the Auburn Doubledays that year before fanning 69 batters in 63 innings for Lansing in 2010. Last season, he posted great numbers while repeating at Lansing for the first half of the season but struggled after being promoted to Dunedin, giving up 18 earned runs on 36 hits in 30 2/3 innings there.

A handful of prospects were placed on the 7-day DL, including RHP Casey Beck, RHP Randy Boone, RHP Wes Etheridge, RHP Shawn Griffith, RHP Trystan Magnuson, RHP Stephen Marek, RHP Brian Slover, C Luis Hurtado, C Chris Schaeffer, 1B Gabe Jacobo, SS Brian Bocock, SS Peter Mooney and OF Francisco Leandro, while LHP John Anderson, LHP Willie Collazo and C Joe Bowen were added to the 60-day DL

-JM

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Tags: Evan Englebrook Garis Pena Garrett Maines Nelson Figueroa Sean Shoffit Steve Turnbull

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