© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

02/15/09 6:17 PM EST

Phils sign Cairo to Minor League deal

Club remains interested in Garciaparra as righty bat off bench

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies signed infielder Miguel Cairo to a Minor League contract on Sunday with an invitation to Spring Training.

Cairo is inventory for the Phillies, and likely not the right-handed bat they seek for their bench. Cairo hit .249 with no home runs and 23 RBIs in 221 at-bats last season with the Mariners. He has not hit a home run since 2005, so it is likely, if the Phils feel they must add a right-handed bat to their bench, that it would be somebody with more power.

spring training
cactus league
grapefruit league

The Phillies remain interested in Nomar Garciaparra, who would be that right-handed bat. But Garciaparra hasn't decided if he wants to continue his career. Philadelphia sources sound like it is more unlikely than likely that he signs.

Cairo has connections to two front office members. Assistant general manager Benny Looper worked in Seattle last season. Cairo played for Tampa Bay in 1998-2000, when Philadelphia assistant general manager Chuck LaMar was the Rays' general manager.

Cairo is a career .266 hitter with 27 homers and 318 RBIs in 13 seasons in the Major Leagues.

Cairo, who was expected to report to camp Sunday, will wear No. 9.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.