02/15/09 4:24 PM EST
Indians ink Graffanino to Minors deal
Veteran infielder to arrive at Spring Training camp on Monday
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
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.