Taipei, June 5 (CNA) Taiwanese pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo, who was released by the Seattle Mariners in spring training, has signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs, the agency representing Kuo confirmed Tuesday.
Kuo will be paid US$20,000 a month, his agency said in a statement. But if he gets called up to the Cubs' major league roster, he will be paid a base annual salary of US$800,000 and a roster bonus of US$400,000.
The 2010 All-Star will have a chance to make more in incentives based on how long he remains on the major league bonus roster and his number of appearances, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Kuo has already departed for the Cubs' extended spring training base in Arizona, his agent, Alan Chang, told CNA.
The Cubs are giving Kuo, who underwent his fifth elbow surgery of his career in October 2011, plenty of time to get himself back into top shape, Chang said.
Once that happens, Kuo is expected to report to the Cubs' Triple A farm club and make his debut there in mid-June at the earliest, Chang added.
Prior to signing the new deal, Kuo had been working out on his own in California to further his recovery from the operation. The elbow injury is not a problem now and Kuo is already in pretty good shape, Chang said.
Kuo was one of the league's most dominant left-handed relievers in 2010 when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 1.20 ERA that set a club record.
A year later, however, his ERA fell to 9.00 in 40 performances and he spend time on the disabled list due to an anxiety disorder.
Should Kuo return to his former level, he will have an excellent chance to contribute to the Cubs, a team whose bullpen ranks 12th in the National League with a 4.18 ERA.
Kuo thanked the Cubs for giving him another opportunity to pitch in the major league as well and thanked his fans, friends and family for supporting him at a time when his career in the United States had seemingly come to an end.
(By Lin Hung-han, Oscar Wu and Kendra Lin)