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Blue Jays sign veteran left-hander Clayton Richard

The Toronto Blue Jays have added a versatile veteran pitcher in Clayton Richard.

The Jays acquired the 35-year-old lefty, who was designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres on Dec. 20, and cash considerations in exchange for Canadian outfielder Connor Panas.

Panas spent last season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Toronto designed right-handed reliever Oliver Drake for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for its new pitcher.

Richard is the second arm Toronto has added to its roster in recent days, after signing free agent Matt Shoemaker, 32, to a one-year, $3.5 million (U.S.) deal on Friday. Richard is owed $3 million this coming season.

While Shoemaker projects as a possible starter for the Jays — joining the likes of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Ryan Borucki in the rotation — Richard could fill in as either a starter or reliever. He has pitched in 265 games over his 10-year MLB career, starting 200 of those.

Richard started 27 games for the Padres in 2018, posting a 5.33 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. The six-foot-five, 240 pound left-hander also posted a National League-best 60.3 ground ball percentage over the last four seasons.

Panas, a native of Toronto, helped the Fisher Cats to an Eastern League championship last season.

He hit .232 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 105 games. He was selected in the ninth round of the 2015 first-year player draft and has hit .251 over four minor-league seasons.

Laura Armstrong is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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