A's Ink Veteran Sweeney

The Oakland A's added more veteran depth on Sunday, inking veteran right-handed hitter Mike Sweeney to a minor league contract. Sweeney, the 13-year-veteran, will compete for a chance to be a right-handed designated hitter/first baseman/pinch-hitter for the A's in 2008.

Veteran Mike Sweeney signed a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp with the Oakland A's on Sunday. Sweeney spent 13 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, where he was a .299 career hitter with 197 homeruns. He is a five-time American League All-Star.

The rebuilding A's have added a lot of veteran experience over the past three days. On Friday, the team came to terms with former All-Star closer Keith Foulke on an incentive-laden, one-year major league deal. Sweeney's deal is not guaranteed, but if he makes the A's major league roster, he can reportedly earn more money based on days on the active roster and performance.

If Sweeney makes the major league team, he will give the A's a right-handed balance to their left-handed heavy line-up. Sweeney could act as a right-handed starter at first or DH or as a right-handed pinch-hitter. Sweeney joins outfielder Emil Brown as the second 2007 Kansas City Royals player to sign with the A's as a free agent this off-season.

Sweeney has a career 862 OPS and hit 22 home runs as recently as 2005. However, he has been limited by back injuries over the last several years and he appeared in less than 75 games in each of the past two seasons. He hit .260 with seven homers in 74 games last season for the Royals. Sweeney has hit .283 with an 836 OPS versus left-handers over the past three seasons.

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