Why do teams/players sign minor league contracts, yet they play in the major leagues.?

For example, Ronnie Belliard signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals and I don't think he has spent one day with the Nationals in the minor leagues. He has been playing major league ball. Same for Roger Clemens...he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees but yet he will be playing... show more For example, Ronnie Belliard signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals and I don't think he has spent one day with the Nationals in the minor leagues. He has been playing major league ball. Same for Roger Clemens...he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees but yet he will be playing for the Yankees mlb team. Can someone please explain?? Thanks!
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