Mariners sign utility player Woodward

Mariners sign utility player Woodward

The Mariners signed utility player Chris Woodward to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the club announced on Wednesday.

"Chris played an important role for us in 2009 and filled gaps when needed," said Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik. "He is a great guy and served as a role model and a mentor as well as a contributor on the field. We are happy that he will be returning to the Mariners organization and we look forward to his continued contributions in 2010."

Woodward, 33, was a non-roster invitee with the Mariners last year and started the season at Triple-A Tacoma. In 20 games with the big league club, Woodward hit .239 with five RBIs while seeing action at second base, third base and shortstop.

He was claimed off waivers by Boston on Aug. 7 and played in 13 games in three stints with the Red Sox.

Overall, Woodward sports a .242 batting average in parts of 10 seasons with Toronto (1999-2004), the New York Mets (2005-06), Atlanta ('07), Seattle ('09) and Boston ('09). He has racked up 33 home runs and 191 RBIs in 640 career games. Woodward was originally selected by Toronto in the 54th round of the 1994 June draft.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.