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Washington Nationals sign Andres Blanco

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ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 07: Andres Blanco #3 of the Texas Rangers fields the ball during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 07: Andres Blanco #3 of the Texas Rangers fields the ball during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
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The Washington Nationals have signed former Rangers' utility infielder Andres Blanco to a minor league deal.

Blanco was purchased by the Rangers from the Chicago Cubs towards the end of spring training in 2010, when the Rangers were scrambling to find a utility infielder in the wake of Khalil Greene's failure to report.

Blanco's calling card was his defense -- he was considered an above-average defender at second base, shortstop, and third base, and that was the skill that Ron Washington indicated he was emphasizing in a utility infielder. His playing time dropped in 2011, however, with Michael Young picking up most of the backup at bats at second and third...Blanco had 316 innings at second base and third base in 2010, but only 37 innings at those two positions in 2011.

Blanco was also hampered by a stress fracture in his back, which limited his playing time late in the season and resulted in his being left off the playoff roster.

The Rangers are still in the market for a utility infielder who can handle shortstop defensively, and will likely have a handful of candidates vying for the job on minor league deals this spring.