- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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A club official said Tuesday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are considering signing free-agent outfielder Alfredo Amezaga. But that official denied widespread reports that a deal had already been reached.
Mike Nicotera, Amezaga's agent, didn't respond to repeated messages left on his cell phone by ESPNLosAngeles.com. But MLB.com reported that Nicotera had confirmed his client had an agreement with the Dodgers.
Amezaga, 32, missed the final four months of last season with a microfracture in his left knee that eventually required surgery. For now, he is continuing on his rehabilitation program, and a source with knowledge of the situation said he isn't expected to be ready to play until the middle to latter part of June.
Still, Amezaga's skill set -- he has experience at all seven positions on the infield and in the outfield -- is something the Dodgers find appealing. Although they will go to spring training in a couple of weeks with most of their position spots set and with veteran utility men Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard already signed to major league contracts, Amezaga could become a valuable insurance policy at Triple-A in the event of an injury to a key player at the big league level.
Largely because of his health issues, Amezaga was non-tendered by the Florida Marlins last fall and has generated little interest on the free-agent market this winter. But his positional versatility makes him an attractive possibility to a club in the National League, where the lack of a designated hitter and frequent late-inning double switches mean such a player can come in handy to a manager.
Amezaga also is a switch hitter, another valuable tool to have on the bench, but he has little power. In eight big league seasons, he has a grand total of 46 doubles, 12 home runs and a .341 slugging percentage. He does have some speed, having stolen as many as 20 bases in a season for the Marlins in 2006, and he doesn't strike out a lot.
Amezaga is a career .251 hitter for four clubs. He spent time with the Angels, Colorado and Pittsburgh before playing for the Marlins for the past four seasons.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
2dKevin Van Valkenburg