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Newly signed Garland, Loe add pitching depth

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran right-hander Jon Garland, pronouncing himself 100 percent recovered from the shoulder surgery that sidelined him the past year and a half, passed his physical with the Mariners on Tuesday and signed a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League camp.

The Mariners also signed right-handed reliever Kameron Loe to a Minor League deal with a camp invite.

Garland, 33, owns a career record of 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA over 12 seasons in the Majors, and hopes to contend for a spot in the Mariners rotation.

Loe, 31, is a 6-foot-8, 245-pounder with eight seasons of Major League experience with the Rangers and Brewers, and was a workhorse in Milwaukee's bullpen the past two years with 142 appearances. He went 6-5 with a 4.61 ERA and two saves in 68 1/3 innings over 70 games last year.

If he proves healthy, Garland presents an intriguing addition to the rotation competition. Prior to his shoulder injury, he was a durable starter who averaged 205 innings a year from 2002-'10, never threw less than 191 innings in nine straight seasons and was an American League All-Star in 2005.

Garland knows his situation, being on a Minor League deal, but likes his chances with a Mariners club that doesn't have any veteran starters outside of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders.

"I've been around long enough, they don't have to say anything," Garland said. "I know what I have to go out and do. The No. 1 thing is stay healthy and just try to get back to what I'm capable of doing, going out and giving a big league team an opportunity to win a ballgame. The rest is in their hands. I can't force them to do anything.

"There were some pretty good options out there [in free agency], but when I looked at it on paper, I felt I had a really good opportunity here with this team. They're definitely making some good moves in the right direction, and I'd like to be part of that."

Garland underwent rotator cuff surgery after being shelved following nine starts with the Dodgers in 2011. He attempted to come back last spring with the Indians, but aborted that effort upon realizing he was nowhere near ready. Instead, he went home to California, worked out on his own and waited for the shoulder to finally feel normal again a year after the surgery.

"At some point during that year, I probably could have made it back," he said. "But going into spring, I was going the wrong direction. Every time I got on the mound, it was getting weaker and wasn't recovering as well. I knew right then and there I had to shut it down and give it the time it needed. And that was probably the best decision I ever made."

Garland said he's now ahead of where he usually is at this time of the spring because he had to get strong enough to throw all his pitches for scouts and teams that were checking him out.

"Now we need to put a pounding on it [in Spring Training] and see how that holds up," he said. "When you get somebody in the box and start building up innings, that's the true test."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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