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Blue Jays shore up middle infield with signing of Maicer Izturis

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed utility free-agent infielder Maicer Izturis to a multiyear contract.

The 32-year-old veteran, who played for the Los Angeles Angels the past eight seasons, has agreed to a three-year deal worth $3-million (U.S.) a season. The club says the contract includes an option for a fourth year at $3-million.

The move makes sense for the Blue Jays, who are in the market for a second baseman, a position where Izturis has experience.

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Kelly Johnson, who played the position last year for Toronto, is a free agent and isn't expected to re-sign with the club.

Mike Aviles, whom the Blue Jays received from the Red Sox in the deal that allowed Boston to sign manager John Farrell, was expected to fill the void. But Aviles was dealt to the Cleveland Indians last week in exchange for bullpen assistance.

Izturis, a switch-hitter, hit .256 with the Angels in 2012 with 20 runs batted in in 100 games with a .320 on-base percentage.

The Blue Jays also announced they have acquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

Jeffress, 25, made 13 appearances in relief for Kansas City last season without a decision, posting a 6.75 ERA.

In 13 1/3 innings, the six-foot, 195-pound native of South Boston, Va., allowed 19 hits with 13 walks and 13 strikeouts.

To make room on the 40-man roster for the newcomers, the Blue Jays designated left-handed pitcher Scott Maine for assignment.

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