SARASOTA, Fla., March 22 (UPI) -- Jose Rijo made it all the way back to the major leagues last season. Now he will be staying there.
The Cincinnati Reds Friday purchased the contract of Rijo and announced that the veteran righthander has made the Opening Day roster.
The 36-year-old Rijo returned to the majors last August after a six-year absence and numerous medical procedures. He went 0-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 13 relief appearances, the first time in his career he had pitched out of the bullpen. His absence was the longest in the majors since Kip Gross and Larry Luebbers went six years between appearances from 1993-99.
Rijo was signed to a minor league contract in January and given the chance to win a job in spring training. The native of the Dominican Republic did just that with six scoreless innings this spring.
The 1990 World Series Most Valuable Player, Rijo had his career cut short by elbow problems that required five surgeries, including a "Tommy John" procedure in August 1995. Rijo led the National League with 227 strikeouts in 1993 and was an All-Star the following season. He owns a lifetime record of 111-87 with a 3.11 ERA.
The Reds opened a roster spot for Rijo by placing pitcher Seth Etherton on the 60-day disabled list. The righthander missed the entire 2001 season following shoulder surgery.
Cincinnati also announced that outfielder Jackson Melian was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers.