Brewers agree to deal with Nunez

Brewers agree to deal with Nunez

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added a versatile infield option on Wednesday, announcing they had agreed on a Minor League contract with veteran switch-hitter Abraham Nunez that includes an invitation to big league camp.

Nunez, who turns 32 on March 16 and has played parts of 11 Major League seasons, spent the last two years as a backup infielder for the Phillies. He hit .232 in 2007 in 136 games and 252 at-bats, appearing mostly as a third baseman. Throughout his career, his defensive appearances are evenly split between second base, third base and shortstop.

Nunez spent his first nine Major League seasons in the National League Central with Pittsburgh (1997-2004) and St. Louis (2005) and enjoyed his best campaign with the Cardinals. In a career-high 421 at-bats and 139 games played, he batted .285 with a .361 on-base percentage while mostly playing third base for an injured Scott Rolen.

That type of workload would be difficult to come by in Milwaukee, assuming Nunez wins a roster spot. Barring injuries, the Brewers appear set with starting first baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, third baseman Bill Hall and shortstop J.J. Hardy. Craig Counsell, whose left-handed bat makes him particularly useful on a righty-heavy ballclub, will serve as the primary backup. Another option is Joe Dillon, who impressed during the Brewers' stretch drive last season, but Dillon is more useful in the corner infield and outfield spots and at second base, and does not profile as an option at shortstop.

Nunez has relatively even career splits against left-handed and right-handed pitching, hitting .234 against lefties and .244 against righties.

With Nunez, the Brewers have invited nine non-roster players to Major League Spring Training camp. But the list includes only one other infielder, Ozzie Chavez.

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