The Colorado Rockies have signed free agent utility infielder Chris Nelson to a minor league deal ahead of spring training, according to a report from Baseball America's Matt Eddy. It was not immediately clear whether the deal includes a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training in Scottsdale.
Nelson, 30, was a first round draft pick (ninth overall) by the Rockies out of a high school in Georgia in 2004, and he was with the organization well into 2013, before being designated for assignment and eventually traded to the New York Yankees.
Since then, he's gone on a whirlwind tour of pro baseball, spending time in both the Majors and Triple-A with the Angels, Reds, Padres, Phillies, Brewers, and Nationals before Washington released him last July. Now, he'll re-join the team that drafted him and seek to find some consistency in location and roster status after several turbulent years of roster moves and transactions.
In his Major League career, predominantly with the Rockies, Nelson has slashed .265/.311/.368 across 282 games (901 plate appearances). His best season came in 2012 with Colorado, when he slashed .301/.352/.458 playing second and third base over 111 games, adding 21 doubles and nine home runs. In his most recent big league action with the Padres in 2014, Nelson slashed just .233/.296/.274 in 27 games (81 plate appearances).
The move does not affect the Rockies' 40-man roster. We'll have more on Nelson's role in camp and season outlook throughout spring training.