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Giants sign Kensuke Tanaka

The former Nippon Ham Fighter will battle for a utility job in spring training.

Thearon W. Henderson

With Marco Scutaro already back in the fold for 2013, the San Francisco Giants went searching for depth at the keystone. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants signed former Nippon Ham Fighter Kensuke Tanaka to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training on Wednesday. Tanaka will compete for the utility infielder job.

Tanaka, a former teammate of Texas Ranger Yu Darvish, had been a consistent producer in Japan. The 31-year-old hit .300/.350/.363, in line with his documented career rates of .294/.366/.387. He offers very little power at the plate, and he had his worst-ever season on the basepaths in 2012, successfully swiping just 13 bases in 22 attempts.

Takana will head to spring training to duke it out with Joaquin Arias as the up-the-middle utility infielder. The 28-year-old Arias hit .270/.304/.389 for the Giants last year while filling in at second base, shortstop, and third base.