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Giles invited to Dodgers spring training

The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Brian Giles to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

Giles played in 61 games for the San Diego Padres in 2009, spending the latter part of the season on the disabled list with an arthritic right knee. He hit .191 with two home runs and 23 RBIs in 225 at-bats.

"There were some things in play here that made me believe that in the final analysis it would be pretty difficult for us to sign a major league contract, not the least of which, surprisingly enough, was the fact Brian didn't really want to," Giles' agent Joe Bick told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "His thought was that until he got to spring training, he wouldn't know for sure until he got back out on the field every day and on back-to-back days doing all the baseball stuff he normally does, exactly how his knee was going to hold up. Until he knows that, he didn't really want anybody to feel like they had to risk guaranteed money on him.''

Giles, who had mircrofracture surgery on his right knee in 2007, averaged 37 home runs and 109 RBIs between 1999 and 2003, making the National League All-Star team with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2000 and 2001.

With Reed Johnson penciled in as the Dodgers' fourth outfielder behind Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Giles will mostly be used as a left-handed bat off the bench.

"We didn't sign him to play the outfield. We signed him to come off the bench and hit," Colletti told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "Is he going to play some? Probably. But we aren't going into this with the idea of him playing 100 or 120 games. We have four outfielders already. If somebody gets hurt and we need him to play a little bit, we'll see where we are at that point.''

Sources told ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney that if Giles makes the Dodgers, he will earn $550,000 in major league salary, with another $200,000 in possible performance bonuses. If he doesn't make the team at the end of spring training, he can ask for his release.

"If he feels after going through spring training or any point during spring training that he isn't capable of playing any place they want to put him, nobody will have to tell him it's a problem. If he recognizes he can't do this, he'll be the first to know," Bick said. "He isn't going to play wounded. If he is healthy, he still feels like he can make a significant contribution ... If this doesn't work out, my guess would be he retires, but nothing is etched in stone.''

Information from ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson was used in this report.