OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ The Oakland Athletics signed knuckleballer Steve Sparks to a minor league contract Saturday, and assigned him to Double-A Midland.

The right-hander was released by the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday after going 0-6 with two saves and a 4.72 ERA in 42 appearances.

Sparks, who has started 164 games in seven major league seasons, is 56-69 with Milwaukee, Anaheim and Detroit.