Giants ink Pat Burrell to minor league deal

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Pat Burrell headshot.jpgThe San Francisco Giants announced on their official Twitter feed this afternoon that  33-year-old veteran outfielder Pat Burrell has been signed to a minor league contract.

Burrell will join up with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate from Fresno, California at some point this weekend and will try to work his way back to the majors from there.  He doesn’t exactly fit in with the Giants’ makeup right now, given that he’s more of a DH than an outfielder these days, but perhaps he’ll make a nice late-innings pinch-hitter at some point down the road.

Burrell was batting just .202/.292/.333 with two homers and 13 RBI over 84 at-bats when the Rays cut ties with him in the middle of May.  He is a .253/.362/.473 career hitter over 10-plus seasons.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.