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January 10, 2005

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed free agent pitcher Billy Koch to a one-year contract worth $900,000 (US).

The 30-year-old native of Rockville Center, New York has appeared in 380 games in his Major League career, posting a record of 29-25 with 163 saves and a 3.89 ERA. In the 2004 season, the right-handed reliever split time between Chicago (AL) and Florida. He posted a 1-1 record with eight saves and a 5.40 ERA in 24 games with the White Sox, before being dealt to Florida for a minor league prospect and cash on June 17. In 23 games with the Marlins, he posted a 1-2 mark with a 3.51 ERA.

Koch, 6-3, 220 lb., was the Blue Jays' first round selection and the fourth pick overall in the June 1996 draft. He spent the first three years of his Major League career with Toronto (1999-2001) compiling an 11-13 record with 100 saves and a 3.57 ERA. He was traded to Oakland in December 2001 in return for 3B Eric Hinske and RHP Justin Miller.

Koch made two starts for the SkyChiefs at the end of the 1998 season (0-2, 14.29 ERA, 9 K, 5.2 IP) and five more in the beginning of the 1999 season (3-0, 3.86 ERA, 22 K, 25.2 IP) before being promoted to Toronto on May 5, 1999.