OAKLAND -- The A's bolstered their outfield depth on Wednesday, signing Jason Pridie to a Minor League contract.
Formerly a second-round pick by the Rays in the 2002 Draft, Pridie spent the 2011 season with the Mets, hitting .231 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 208 at-bats spanning 101 games before he was removed from their 40-man roster last week.
Pridie, who turned 28 in October, gives the A's yet another option in a depleted outfield that likely won't see the returns of free agents Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus. He's widely regarded as an excellent defender and spent much of his time in New York manning center field, but his arm strength and versatility lend the A's the choice of playing him in left or right, as well.
Pridie enters an outfield mix that already includes familiar face Ryan Sweeney, along with youngsters Michael Taylor, Jai Miller, Chris Carter and Cedric Hunter, who was claimed off waivers by the A's in late October.
"The outfield is obviously an issue because of the fact that all our guys are potentially going away, including [Hideki] Matsui," manager Bob Melvin said this week. "That's an area we're going to have to take a hard look at. We'll see what we have internally and then look at possible other options."
Search for hitting coach continues for A's
OAKLAND -- The A's search for a hitting coach returned to square one on Wednesday, when top target Mike Aldrete was named St. Louis' bench coach.
Oakland received permission to speak with Aldrete -- St. Louis' assistant hitting coach this past season -- after the Cardinals won the World Series, and he was in close contact with A's manager and friend Bob Melvin in the following weeks.
"We really felt like there was a great shot we'd get Mike," Melvin said. "It was very close with us, but obviously when you get another opportunity like that in a place he's familiar with where they value him, I understand the decision. Now we'll look at other choices."
The A's are expected to continue their search outside of the organization, and there is no timeline when a decision will be made. It marks the only remaining coaching vacancy for Oakland, which chose not to renew hitting coach Gerald Perry's contract at season's end.
Melvin and Aldrete played three seasons together with the Giants, and Aldrete -- like newly named A's bench coach Chip Hale -- is a California native. He served as Melvin's first-base coach in Seattle in 2004 and also as his hitting coach in Arizona during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.