"I'm coming there to help off the bench and fill in wherever they need me," Vazquez said after signing a two-year, $4 million contract as a free agent. "But I'm also there to push the starters, too. I want them to know I'm behind them trying to get more playing time, and hopefully that will make them all better players. It's a young team and I'm a veteran guy, and I just want to come in and help make the team better."
The left-handed hitting Vazquez, 32, is coming off a fine season with Texas as he hit .290 with six home runs and 40 RBIs in 105 games. He has spent eight seasons in the major leagues with Seattle (2001), San Diego (2002-04), Boston (2005), Cleveland (2005-06) and Texas (2007-08), hitting .257 with 21 homers and 160 RBIs in 595 games.
What is most attractive to the Pirates is that Vazquez played 70 games at third base for the Rangers last season. The Pirates are looking for insurance in case third baseman Andy LaRoche continues to struggle. LaRoche hit .152 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 49 games last season as a rookie after being acquired from the Dodgers in a July 31 trade.
"(Vazquez) is a veteran presence and a nice left-handed bat that will complement our right-handed-hitting middle infielders very well," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "We like the idea that he can play third base, too, and feel he will be a very valuable bench player for us."
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