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Rockies pick up infielder Lopez from Seattle

Rockies pick up infielder Lopez from Seattle

DENVER -- The Rockies' search for a versatile right-handed hitter led to them acquiring Jose Lopez from the Mariners for Minor League pitcher Chaz Roe on Thursday night.

Lopez figured to be one of the team's targets on the free-agent market if the Mariners non-tendered him. Instead, Lopez joins the Rockies as a third-year arbitration-eligible player. Lopez made $3 million last season.

Lopez, who turned 27 on Nov. 24, made 142 appearances at third base last season and batted .239 with 10 home runs and 58 RBIs. Lopez was an All-Star Game participant as a second baseman in 2006. He also has played sparingly at first base and was a shortstop when he broke in with the Mariners in 2004.

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The Rockies were looking for a versatile right-handed hitter. He could figure prominently in the second-base mix, where the Rockies have a trio of young players -- Eric Young Jr., Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson, none of whom have played a full Major League season. Lopez also can spell regular third baseman Ian Stewart.

Lopez is a career .266 hitter with 80 home runs and 431 RBIs in 873 games, all with the Mariners. His 25-homer season in 2009 with the Mariners was intriguing to the Rockies, said assistant general manager Bill Geivett.

"He's a guy we've looked at for a long time," Geivett said. "We liked his versatility, and he's a right-handed bat. He also has some power potential. That's a pretty big ballpark in Seattle, and he's played in a division with Oakland and Anaheim, and those parks are not easy to hit the ball out of. We think he can do well at Coors Field."

Roe, the Rockies' supplemental first-round pick in 2005, went 9-13 with a 5.98 ERA in 27 starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2010.

"We certainly didn't want to part with Chaz Roe, but we definitely need to add to some right-handed hitting to our mix," Geivett said.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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