D-backs Sign Tony Clark to One-Year Contract

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with infielder Tony Clark on a one-year contract, as announced by D-backs executive vice president and general manager Josh Byrnes on Friday. Clark will make $800,000 in 2009.

Tony Clark played in 108 games in stops with the Padres and D-backs last season, batting .225 (34-for-151) with 12 runs scored, five doubles, three home runs, and 24 RBI. After being signed as a free agent by San Diego on February 13th, Clark was reacquired by the D-backs on July 17th in exchange for minor league pitcher Evan Scribner.

"We are pleased to retain Tony," said Byrnes. "His power can impact the game either as a pinch-hitter or as a starter. His leadership and experience watching our club evolve over the last several years will help us tackle our next set of challenges."

Clark, 36,  previously played for Arizona from 2005-07. He homered once every 11.63 at bats (30 HR/349 AB) with the D-backs in 2005, which ranked second-best in the majors among batters with a minimum of 300 at-bats. Clark's 55 home runs with the D-backs ranks seventh in franchise history.

Clark's return signals that prospect Joshua Whitesell will break camp in Triple-A Reno.  The Diamondbacks named Whitesell the organizational Player of the Year after the 26-year old first sacker hit .328 with 26 homers and 110 RBI in Triple-A Tucson.  Whitesell also homered once in seven September at-bats in the majors.  He figured to platoon with Chad Tracy at first base prior to this transaction.

For his career, Clark is a .263 hitter (1,176-for-4,466) with 622 runs scored, 229 doubles, 11 triples, 247 home runs, and 813 RBI in 1,523 major league games over parts of 14 seasons with the Tigers, Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, D-backs, and Padres.

Since 1974, Clark's 247 career home runs rank 13th among switch-hitters, while his 813 RBI ranks 33rd. His 11 career pinch-hit home runs are tied for fourth among active players and tied for 11th overall during the same span.

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