Padres sign Cruz, non-tender Knott

The San Diego Padres officially signed outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. to a one-year contract on Tuesday. The team also non-tendered first baseman/outfielder Jon Knott.

Jose Cruz played in 86 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, appearing at all three outfield positions. The 32-year-old batted .233 (52-for-223) with 16 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 17 RBI and five stolen bases before he was designated for assignment on August 1.

Originally selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round (third overall) of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft, Cruz has played 10 Major League seasons with the Mariners (1997), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-2002), San Francisco Giants (2003), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2004), Arizona Diamondbacks (2005), Boston Red Sox (2005) and Dodgers (2005-06). He has a career batting average of .249 (1101-for-4419) with 239 doubles, 33 triples, 198 home runs, 602 RBI and 107 stolen bases. Cruz won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his defensive play during the 2003 season and his 198 home runs currently rank tied for ninth among active switch-hitters.

Jon Knott spent most of the 2006 season with Triple-A Portland before his September callup to the Padres. He led the Beavers and the Pacific Coast League in home runs (32) and RBIs (113) while pacing Portland in triples (6). He went 0-for-3 in his brief stint with San Diego.

Originally signed by Mal Fichman as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State, Knott had three hits in 17 at bats in the majors and a .283 career minor league average over five seasons. In 647 games he collected 166 doubles, 122 homers and knocked in 454. He has hit 25 or more homers in each of the last four seasons.

The Padres also tendered contracts to 23 players, all of whom are on the 40-man roster.

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