01/12/11 7:20 PM EST
Marlins add four with Minor League contracts
D'Antona, Sammons, Thurston, Wise offer Florida added depth
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
The role of lefty pinch-hitter has been in question heading into the 2011 season, and both Wise and Thurston hit from the left side, have Major League experience and could fill that role if they make the big league club. Catcher John Baker, recovering from Tommy John surgery, has also been considered an option until he can start throwing again.
Wise, who turns 33 on Feb. 24, also has significant experience in center field and could potentially serve as insurance for Chris Coghlan, who's expected to make the move to center field following knee surgery.
Most famous for making a spectacular catch to preserve Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009, Wise batted .270 with a .315 on-base percentage in 37 games for the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate, then hit .250 with a .282 on-base percentage and 14 RBIs in 52 games for the Blue Jays last season.
Wise holds a .308 career batting average in 65 at-bats as a pinch-hitter through parts of eight seasons. In his Major League career, he has played 105 games in right field, 102 in left and 96 in center.
Thurston, 31, has experience at every position except catcher, first base and pitcher. After appearing in 124 Major League games for the Cardinals in 2009, Thurston spent the entire 2010 season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate, batting .273 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs.
He is a career .221 hitter in 68 at-bats as a pinch-hitter.
Sammons, Thurston's teammate at Triple-A Gwinnett last year, batted .162 with five homers while appearing in 84 Minor League games last year. In 31 Major League games from 2007-09, the 27-year-old batted .176.
D'Antona, a 28-year-old who hasn't played in the big leagues since 2008, spent the '09 season in Japan, batting .276 with 21 homers and 83 RBIs for the Yakult Swallows.