ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have signed Eric Hinske to a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League camp this spring.
"I'm excited to join the Rays," said Hinske in a telephone interview. "After talking to [Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations], I thought it was the best fit for me. Obviously I wanted a Major League contract, but I didn't have any offers. So I'm excited to be a Ray."
Hinske, 30, said he also had interest in the D-backs, but he said Friedman sold him on the opportunity with the Rays, and he liked the way Friedman spoke of the expectations he had for him.
Hinske's addition gives the Rays more depth and a proven left-handed bat.
Hinske played 84 games for the Red Sox in 2007, hitting .204 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. He can play first, left field or DH and is a career .255 hitter with 85 home runs in 770 Major league games. He earned American League Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 as a third baseman for the Blue Jays.
Hinske will make $800,000 if he plays in the Major Leagues and will receive $100,000 for 250 plate appearances, $150,000 for 350 plate appearances, and $250,000 for 450 plate appearances. According to the terms of Hinske's contract, if he is not on the 40-man roster by June 15, he will be released if requested (between June 15 and July 15) or he will be added to the roster within 72 hours.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Spencer Fordin contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.