The Pirates today signed left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Sanchez, 30, spent 2012 with the Kansas City Royals and the Colorado Rockies. He pitched poorly, walking more batters than he struck out and posting an 8.07 ERA before biceps tendinitis ended his season in early August.

The signing comes as the Pirates' negotiations with lefty Francisco Liriano drag into a second month.

Liriano agreed to terms with the Pirates in late December but broke the humerus in his right -- non-throwing -- arm before taking a physical, which delayed the deal.

Signing Sanchez does not mean the Liriano signing will not become official, but provides insurance to the rotation in case the deal falls apart.

Even if Liriano signs, it is unlikely he will be ready for opening day.

Sanchez will join Jeanmar Gomez, Chris Leroux, Andy Oliver and Justin Wilson as pitchers who could potentially start in the Class AAA Indianapolis rotation. They would be next in line if someone gets hurt, or if Kyle McPherson or Jeff Locke, the front-runners for the fifth rotation spot, struggle early in the season.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/pirates/pirates-signing-of-starter-sanchez-official-673603/#ixzz2K8PIeP3v