The Detroit Tigers have signed free-agent infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract, a source told the Free Press on Wednesday. He will report to minicamp in Lakeland, Florida, around Feb. 21.
Lopez likely will begin the 2022 season with Triple-A Toledo.
The 29-year-old, selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 16th round of the 2011 draft, made his MLB debut in 2021 with the Boston Red Sox, hitting .154 (2-for-13) with two doubles, one walk and six strikeouts in seven games.
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The Tigers signed Lopez, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound utility player, because of his defensive versatility and professional experience.
Lopez has played 893 games across nine seasons in the minor leagues, posting a .241 batting average and .295 on-base percentage in his career. He played for Triple-A Omaha of the Royals’ organization in 2017 and 2018, Triple-A Gwinnett (Atlanta Braves) in 2019 and Triple-A Worcester (Red Sox) in 2021.
At the Triple-A level, the right-handed hitter owns a .257 batting average in 295 games.
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Although the Red Sox used Lopez as a second baseman last season — after 248 games there in the minors — he also boasts minor-league experience at shortstop (446 games), third base (152), left field (24), center field (11) and right field (3), along with pitching one inning in 2019.
This offseason, Lopez took the field for Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Puerto Rican Winter League at shortstop, second base, center field and left field. He hit .165 with three home runs, 10 RBIs, 12 walks and 26 strikeouts over 30 games in the regular season.
Then, Lopez hit .130 with one homer, one walk and four strikeouts across six games in the postseason semifinals.
He has played winter ball in Puerto Rico for the past eight years.
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Lopez, who turned 29 in December, played for the United States in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. He received a sports citizenship transfer from the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation. The U.S. finished with a silver medal, behind Japan (gold) and ahead of the Dominican Republic (bronze).
Lopez hit .143 in six games for Team USA, making three starts in the outfield.
Here’s an updated list of the Tigers’ minor-league deals this offseason:
RHP Jacob Barnes
RHP Carlos Sanabria
RHP Markus Solbach
RHP Jesus Rodriguez
RHP Carlos Guzman
RHP A.J. Ladwig
RHP Luis Castillo
RHP Gerson Moreno
RHP Ricardo Pinto
INF Luis Carpio
INF Josh Lester
UTIL Jack Lopez
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