Taguchi Brings Pinch-Hitting Experience

The Phillies added what could be a final piece of the puzzle to their 2008 roster by signing outfielder So Taguchi. The former Cardinal will bring depth to the outfield and the bench.

So Taguchi was squeezed out of the Cardinals outfield and roster, earlier this off-season and found himself looking for a new home. While the Chicago Cubs were the leading candidate, the Phillies lurked silently behind and made their purchase Sunday afternoon.

Taguchi, 37, hit .290 over six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and has a career .284 average as a pinch-hitter. He'll wind up as an extra outfielder and a right-handed bat to bring off the bench. Taguchi can play all three outfield positions and would likely be the first option to take over in center field for Shane Victorino, should he be sidelined with an injury.

Signing Taguchi likely fills out the Phillies offensive part of the roster, leaving them with just some potential pitching moves to make. The only other move for a position player would be if they can find a way to upgrade at third base, but after their earlier efforts failed, it's likely that they'll continue with Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs sharing time at third. Taguchi will join catcher Chris Coste and infielder Eric Bruntlett on the bench. Whoever isn't playing in right field - either Jayson Werth or newly signed Geoff Jenkins - and whoever isn't playing at third will also be options to bring off the bench.

Taguchi's contract will pay him $1 million and is for one year, with an option for 2009.

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