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Phils sign Taguchi to one-year deal

Phils sign Taguchi to one-year deal

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies completed some last-minute holiday shopping Sunday, signing outfielder So Taguchi to a one-year contract with an option for 2009.

The team announced the deal late Sunday afternoon. The agreement is believed to be valued at slightly more than $1 million for 2008.

Taguchi, 37, spent the past six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, batting .290 in 130 games with 15 doubles, three homers and seven stolen bases.

The right-handed-hitting Taguchi has averaged 340 at-bats from 2005-07. He is a .284 hitter in 120 career pinch-hit appearances.

Taguchi's greatest value to manager Charlie Manuel is his ability to play all three outfield positions, and be a longer-term solution in center field should Shane Victorino suffer an injury such as the strained right calf that cost him most of the final two months of 2007.

Assuming the Phillies go with 12 pitchers, Taguchi completes a five-man bench that also consists of Jayson Werth, catcher Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett and whoever doesn't start at third between Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms.

Taguchi is the third player to sign with the Phillies in the previous four days. Outfielder Geoff Jenkins and pitcher Chad Durbin agreed to contracts on Thursday. General manager Pat Gillick said it was "unlikely" the team would acquire another starting pitcher or third baseman before Spring Training, but hoped to net a reliever, preferably a lefty.

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

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