Pirates eye return of Wigginton
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The Pirates are looking to a familiar face for the right-handed power bat they wish to acquire.
Management has expressed interest in free-agent third baseman/outfielder Ty Wigginton, a team source confirmed yesterday, after he was released by Houston late Friday night. The release came when the Astros declined to tender Wigginton a contract offer through salary arbitration. He made $4.35 million last season and surely could have received a raise up to $6 million through the process.
Wigginton, 31, batted .285 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 386 at-bats, though he batted far better at Houston's hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park -- .343 with 15 of those home runs -- than on the road. His career numbers: .270 with 110 home runs in 784 games.
He spent part of 2004 and all of the following year in Pittsburgh, having arrived in the multiplayer trade that sent Kris Benson to the New York Mets.
The Pirates are eager to add right-handed power to a lineup that, for the moment, probably can count only on left-handed Ryan Doumit and Adam LaRoche for home runs in 2009. A right-hander in the mix would allow manager John Russell many more options.
Wigginton's natural position is third base, but he played 30 games for Houston in the outfield last season and did not commit an error. He also has played first and second base in his career.
The Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants also inquired about Wigginton over the weekend, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the list is expected to expand.
First Published December 15, 2008 12:00 am