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02/15/09 4:24 PM EST

Indians ink Graffanino to Minors deal

Veteran infielder to arrive at Spring Training camp on Monday

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Position players officially reported to the Player Development Complex on Sunday, but one guy will be a day late.

The Indians have signed infielder Tony Graffanino to a Minor League contract and invited him to spring camp. He will arrive on Monday.

Graffanino, 36, has played 12 big league seasons with six teams -- the Braves, Rays, White Sox, Royals, Red Sox and Brewers. He has batted a combined .267 with 58 homers and 302 RBIs. He was batting .238 with nine homers and 30 RBIs in 86 games for the Brewers in 2007 before suffering a season-ending right knee injury in August.

Last year, coming off the knee rehabilitation, Graffanino signed a Minor League deal with the Tribe and played in 25 games at Triple-A Buffalo. He hit .315 with seven doubles, a triple and six RBIs, playing all four infield spots.

Manager Eric Wedge listed Graffanino as a candidate for the Tribe's last bench spot, though it appears Josh Barfield is the favorite for that position. If nothing else, Graffanino adds a little competition to the mix, and he'll assume some of the playing time left behind by Mark DeRosa, who will be leaving to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

"He's a veteran guy who puts up a professional at-bat," Wedge said of Graffanino. "I don't think we would have brought him in if DeRosa was going to be here the whole time. But because he's not, we've got that spot available. [Graffanino is] a guy who was a consummate pro for us last year in Buffalo and a guy we've seen across the diamond and liked. It's an opportunity for him to come in here and compete."

Graffanino is the 20th non-roster player invited to camp.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.