The Orioles' crowded infield got even deeper on Friday, when the team agreed to bring back veteran shortstop Cesar Izturis on a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
The deal, which is still pending Izturis passing a physical, will likely see him transition into a backup role. It also includes an extra $1.5 million in incentives based on games started and plate appearances.
Izturis has spent the last two seasons as the Orioles' starting shortstop, batting .242 with a .284 on-base percentage and 58 RBIs while appearing in 264 games.
Now, he returns to a Baltimore team with a crowded infield picture. The club acquired free-agent third baseman Mark Reynolds on Monday, and on Thursday agreed to a deal with Minnesota that brought J.J. Hardy in as its new shortstop and also added utility infielder Brendan Harris.
But Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail sees an opportunity for Izturis and Harris to both be on the Opening Day roster.
"We definitely can have room for both," MacPhail told The Baltimore Sun. "Harris can play third. He can play other positions, but he pretty much has to make the team out of Spring Training. He'll be in a competition with [shortstop Robert] Andino and others. We always wanted to bring Izzy back. We just wanted to do more offensively at short."
Izturis is a career .256 hitter with a .296 on-base percentage in 10 big league seasons. The Venezuela native has also played some at second and third base.
According to the Sun, the O's also signed veteran infielder Nick Green to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The 32-year-old has played for seven Major League teams and was limited to 14 games with the Dodgers and Blue Jays last season.
For his six-year career, Green is a .237 hitter with a .305 on-base percentage and has experience at every position, except center field and catcher. In 69 Triple-A games last year, Green hit .240 with four homers and 31 RBIs.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Gonzo and 'The Show'. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.