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News » Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-12-17

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-12-17

Arizona Diamondbacks Inside Pitch 2008-12-17
The Diamondbacks left the winter meetings after agreeing on a one-year contract with free agent second baseman Felipe Lopez, who has all the specifications they were seeking in a replacement for free agent Orlando Hudson.

Lopez, whose one-year, $3.5 million deal became official once he passed a physical, adds a left-handed bat against right-handed pitching (he is a switch hitter), can defend at second base, runs well and can hit at the top of the lineup.

The D-backs place a premium on infield defense behind sinkerballers Brandon Webb and Chad Qualls.

"He's got good tools," a National League executive said of Lopez, who was Toronto's first-round draft choice (the eighth player taken overall) out of high school in 1998. "He still has some pop in his bat. He's not in Hudson's league defensively, but he can play defense."

Lopez, 28, is a .262 career hitter in his seven-year major league career and has shown occasional flashes of brilliance. He hit .291 with 34 doubles, 23 home runs and 85 RBIs as the regular shortstop in Cincinnati in 2005 but had 2 1/2 years of lesser results in Washington before hitting .385 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 43 games with St. Louis in the final two months of 2008.

The D-backs saw firsthand the damage Lopez can inflict. He was 16-for-31 in seven games against them in September, with four three-hit games and two two-hit games. He had two homers and five RBIs in those games, and he drove in two runs when the Cardinals eliminated the D-backs from the NL West race in St. Louis on Sept. 25.

Lopez has spent most of his career at shortstop but played 101 games at second base for the Nationals and Cardinals last season.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 17, 2008

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