Marlins ink Colvin, but still seeking extra outfielder

Marlins ink Colvin, but still seeking extra outfielder

MIAMI -- The Marlins have added another piece to their backup outfield mix, but they still haven't found the missing link for their fourth spot. Tyler Colvin signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, giving the organization a left-handed-hitting option with big league experience.

The Marlins continue to actively pursue more experienced options, with Nate Schierholtz and Ichiro Suzuki among the possibilities. Andy Dirks and Will Venable also fit the left-handed-hitting profile Miami is seeking.

Colvin is an interesting alternative. The 29-year-old appeared in 57 games with a .223/.268/.381 slash line for the Giants last year, including two homers and 18 RBIs. He also played in 50 games at Triple-A Fresno.

A left-handed hitter and thrower, Colvin has a career average of .272 with 74 home runs in 609 Minor League games. In 441 Major League games, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder who attended Clemson has a .239 lifetime average with 49 homers and 178 RBIs.

Colvin broke in with the Cubs in 2009, and he belted 20 homers and drove in 56 runs in 2010. With the Rockies in 2012, he appeared in a career-high 136 games, connecting on 18 homers with 72 RBIs.

Marlins fans may recall Colvin suffered a freak injury at Sun Life Stadium in September 2010. While on third base, a flying piece of a broken bat punctured Colvin's chest, causing the outfielder to spend several days at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital.

For Miami, the ideal left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder will also be asked to pinch-hit. Colvin has 88 career plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, with 16 hits -- including three homers -- in 81 at-bats (.198).

Schierholtz and Suzuki are strong candidates to sign MLB contracts.

Schierholtz has compiled a .272 average over 196 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

With Suzuki, it is a matter of seeing if there is a fit in Miami. The 41-year-old is also reportedly drawing interest from the Orioles and Blue Jays.

The Marlins' everyday outfield is set, with Christian Yelich in left, Marcell Ozuna in center and Giancarlo Stanton in right.

If Suzuki were to sign, the challenge would be finding him enough playing time -- unless he would be open to play another position, like first base. Suzuki has never played first in the big leagues. But Miami has one of the best infield coaches in the game in Perry Hill, who has successfully helped players learn other positions.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.