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Xavier Nady, Henry Blanco join D-backs

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks may have found their everyday left fielder. They picked up a backup catcher, too.

Arizona agreed to one-year contracts with outfielder Xavier Nady and catcher Henry Blanco on Friday, the two biggest spots new general manager Kevin Towers needed to fill in a busy offseason.

Nady gets $1.75 million and has the chance to earn $1 million in bonuses based on roster time. Blanco is guaranteed $1.25 million in his deal, which includes a mutual option for 2012.

Nady should be the front-runner to start in left field, an inconsistent spot for Arizona last season.

The 32-year-old returned from his second elbow-ligament replacement surgery to hit .256 with six homers and 33 RBIs in 119 games for the Chicago Cubs last season. He is a solid fielder and had 20-homer seasons with Pittsburgh and the Yankees before being beset with health issues.

Nady's primary competition in left field will be Gerardo Parra and Brandon Allen. He also can play first base, giving Arizona options with Adam LaRoche gone.

A career .277 hitter in nine seasons with five teams, Nady can earn $250,000 each for 60, 90, 100 and 120 days on active major league roster.

The 39-year-old Blanco gets $1 million next season, and the deal includes a $1.15 million mutual option for 2012 with a $250,000 buyout. The 13-year veteran is known as a solid defensive catcher with a good arm and command of a pitching staff. He will likely be Miguel Montero's backup after hitting .215 with two homers and eight RBIs in 50 games for the New York Mets last season.

To clear room on the 40-man roster, Arizona designated right-handed pitcher Roque Mercedes for assignment and asked for release waivers on utility player Rusty Ryal.

The Diamondbacks earlier signed former All-Star closer J.J. Putz, traded for Pittsburgh left-hander Zach Duke and picked up right-handed relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio from Baltimore in a deal for third baseman Mark Reynolds.