Rockies add veteran Denorfia to outfield mix

Right-handed hitter played five years under Black in San Diego

Rockies add veteran Denorfia to outfield mix

DENVER -- The Rockies have signed veteran right-handed-hitting outfielder Chris Denorfia to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Friday.

Denorfia, 36, who played for new Rockies manager Bud Black with the Padres from 2010-14, has also spent time in the Majors with the Reds, Athletics, Mariners and Cubs during his 10-year career. He has a lifetime .272 batting average, .330 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage.

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Denorfia last played in the Majors in 2015, when he hit .269 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 103 games for the Cubs.

Last year, Denorfia attended Spring Training with the Yankees, opted out late in camp and underwent back surgery. He recovered in time to appear in 42 Minor League games with the Giants organization (.269, four homers, 16 RBIs) before setting his sights on being ready for 2017.

"Some of the familiarities are obvious -- the years that he played for Bud Black with the San Diego teams, however many years we've seen him play against us in a Padres uniform," Bridich said. "And he has dealt with some injuries over the last year, where his back was an issue, and he really had not felt 100 percent.

"That was one of the things that spurred us toward signing him, that he feels he has gone through a process where he's finally healthy for the first time in a number of years, and he really respects Buddy especially and is excited about that potential reunion there."

Bridich said with outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and possibly Gerardo Parra slated to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, Denorfia is in line for a long look and time at all three outfield positions.

The expected signing of left-handed-hitting utility man Alexi Amarista for one year with a 2018 option, which could become official early next week once all information from his physical is evaluated, will put the Rockies' 40-man roster at 40. Denorfia, however, could still carve out a roster spot for himself. The projected outfielders from the Rockies' Major League roster all bat left-handed, and Denorfia offers a right-handed option.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.