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01/04/11 2:59 PM EST

Reds finalize Minors deal with Hermida

Left-handed-hitting outfielder receives spring invite

CINCINNATI -- The Reds added depth in the outfield on Tuesday, signing outfielder Jeremy Hermida to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training.

Cincinnati has been looking for a left-handed-hitting outfielder to come off the bench, and Hermida could fit that bill if he were to make the club.

"We liked him a lot in the past, and we're giving him an opportunity to see what he can do to make the club," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "Maybe playing in our ballpark will make a difference for him. There's not a lot of risk and a chance for good upside."

A former first-round Draft pick of the Marlins in 2002, Hermida was Florida's primary right fielder from 2006-09. During a down year last season split between the Red Sox and A's, he batted a combined .216 with six home runs and 29 RBIs.

Hermida, who will turn 27 on Jan. 30, is a lifetime .259 hitter with 63 homers, 239 RBIs and a .335 on-base percentage.

Jocketty has also conducted recent talks with left-handed-hitting outfielders Scott Podsednik and Fred Lewis. Because Hermida is in the fold, that doesn't mean the search for lefty hitters is over.

"We're still talking to a couple of guys," Jocketty said. "We've been talking with Hermida for a while, and we don't have a lot of left-handed hitting on our club."

With the exception of left-handed-hitting right fielder Jay Bruce, the Reds' outfield -- left fielder Jonny Gomes and center fielder Drew Stubbs -- hits from the right. Rookie Chris Heisey came off the bench last season as a right-handed hitter. The lefty off the bench was Laynce Nix, who became a free agent after the club tried to outright him from the 40-man roster.

Jocketty didn't rule out the return of Nix as the search continued.

"We were under the assumption he signed with Seattle," Jocketty said. "I guess it's not the case now. We like competition. If we can do something to create more competition, we're in favor."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.