Cubs ink Kawasaki to Minors pact with invite

Cubs ink Kawasaki to Minors pact with invite

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have signed colorful infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Kawasaki, 34, batted .214 in 23 games last season with the Blue Jays, and he hit .245 at Triple-A Buffalo. He's versatile, having played second, third and shortstop over four seasons with Seattle and Toronto.

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The Blue Jays used him as a sub for injured players. Kawasaki did steal 42 bases in 2004 and 44 in '09 with Daiei in Japan, but he has swiped 10 over four seasons in the big leagues.

Kawasaki once told a reporter he ate three bananas every day to avoid cramps because "a monkey never cramps," and boasted that his muscles got a boost from eating Japanese noodles.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.