Tribe Signs Veteran Outfielder Lombard

The Indians have added a little outfield insurance by signing veteran outfielder George Lombard to a minor-league contract. The 33-year-old likely will go to Triple-A Columbus. Once a top prospect in the Atlanta Braves' farm system, he has played for seven organizations and appeared in 144 major-league games -- most recently with Washington in 2006. He was injured most of the past two seasons.

Lombard hurt his thumb during spring training last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He then hit only .163 in 13 games for Triple-A Las Vegas and was released.

The Marlins signed him and he hit .407 for Florida's Triple-A team in Albuquerque in nine games.

Atlanta's second-round pick in 1994, Lombard's best season came at Double-A Greensboro in 1998, when he hit .308 with 22 homers, 65 RBI and 35 stolen bases to get his first call to the majors. He bounced between Atlanta and Triple-A Richmond for a couple of seasons before being traded to Detroit in 2002.

In 72 games for the Tigers, he hit .241 with five homers, 13 RBI and 13 steals, but was placed on waivers and claimed by Tampa Bay.

Lombard signed with Boston as a free agent in 2004 and played two years in the Red Sox organization without getting called up -- then signed a minor-league deal with Washington for 2006.

In 144 career games, Lombard has a .220 average (77-for-350) with eight homers, 21 RBI and 23 steals. He's also struck out 111 times and drawn only 27 walks.

In 1,205 games in the minors, the left-handed hitter has a .262 average with 143 homers, 536 RBI and 316 steals.

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