Looper signs; Rottino let go

Right-hander Braden Looper passed a physical exam and formally became a Brewer on Thursday when he inked a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2010.

Looper, a 34-year-old former reliever who moved to the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation for the past two seasons, is expected to bolster a Brewers starting five with talent but little depth. To make room for him on the team’s full 40-man roster, Wisconsin native Vinny Rottino, a catcher, was designated for assignment.

Looper will earn $4.75 million in 2009 and at least $6 million in 2010 if both sides exercise the option. The 2010 base salary will bump to $6.5 million of Looper starts at least 30 games in 2009.

The Brewers have until 10 days after the end of the World Series to decide on their half of the option, and Looper then must make his own decision three days after that. If the Brewers decline the option, they must pay Looper a buyout.

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