Izturis signs two-year deal with Orioles

Izturis signs two-year deal with Orioles

Looking for a fresh opportunity, Cesar Izturis believes he's found one with the Orioles.

Less than a week after reaching an agreement on a tentative deal, Izturis on Tuesday was announced as the Orioles' new starting shortstop, signing a two-year contract reportedly worth $6 million.

News that Izturis was interested in Baltimore broke last week at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. To complete the deal, the shortstop had to complete his physical, which took place on Monday.

"This is a good opportunity for me to play every day and help the team win," Izturis said. "We have a lot of young guys and a good pitching staff. It's a good opportunity to be here and be part of this organization."

A former All-Star with the Dodgers in 2005, the switch-hitting shortstop paced the Cardinals last year with 24 stolen bases. In 135 games with St. Louis, Izturis hit .263 and posted a .319 on-base percentage.

Izturis drew interest from a number of clubs, several of them seeking him as a utility player. The Orioles were enticing because they looked at the veteran as a starter.

Baltimore was seeking to upgrade defensively, and Izturis has always been a standout in the field. His .980 fielding percentage last season was third best among National League shortstops. With the Dodgers in 2004, he won the Gold Glove.

"They said they needed a defensive shortstop," Izturis said. "I bring to the table whatever I can. I just want to help the team win -- any way I can. It's going to be fun."

Izturis has a .260 career batting average in 903 Major League games.

To stay in baseball shape, Izturis has been playing Winter League ball in his native country, Venezuela. He appeared in 10 games and batted .326 for Cardenales de Lara before he was shut down on Dec. 6.

Hot Stove

In his career, Izturis has played 800 games at shortstop -- including 110 starts for the Cardinals in 2008. He's also appeared in 43 games at second base and 47 at third base.

Izturis broke in with the Blue Jays in 2001. In his career, he's also played for the Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates. His younger brother, Maicer, is an infielder for the Angels.

In Baltimore, Izturis welcomes the chance to be a veteran on a young team.

"I thank them for the chance and the opportunity to help the team win," he said. "I'm so excited to be here and focus on a new season."

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