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Giants ink Japanese infielder to Minors deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Seeking infield depth, the Giants have signed Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

A left-handed batter, Tanaka hit .300 in 114 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters last year. His best season was 2010, when he batted .335 with 34 stolen bases.

The 31-year-old Tanaka, who's listed as 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, figures to compete for a utility role behind Marco Scutaro. The Giants have not re-signed free agent Ryan Theriot, despite indications of mutual interest earlier this offseason, and Emmanuel Burriss jumped to the Reds via free agency. Theriot and Burriss started 81 and 30 games at second, respectively.

Joaquin Arias, who started twice at second base last year, is the Giants' primary returning reserve infielder.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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