Brignac adds to Rockies reserve infield depth

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The freshness of a new start outweighs any pressure infielder Reid Brignac could feel upon joining the Rockies, who acquired him from the Rays on Thursday for cash and a player to be named.

Brignac, 27, achieved touted prospect status with the Rays in 2006, when he hit .326 in Class A and finished the year with a .300 average in a Double-A trial. He would eventually make the Majors and have a stint as the starting shortstop, but after he hit .227 for the Rays from 2008-12, the club decided to designate him for assignment. Several clubs expressed interest before the Rockies acquired him.

Brignac will compete for an Opening Day roster spot and playing time. The Rockies already have DJ LeMahieu, who finished strong last season and ended with a solid .297 batting average in 81 Major league games, Jonathan Herrera, who battled injuries last year, and Ryan Wheeler, who came from the D-backs in a winter trade, in the backup infielder mix.

Two factors work in Brignac's favor. He has shown the ability to play shortstop in the big leagues for an extended period -- important to a club that wants to be protected if star Troy Tulowitzki is injured -- and he is out of Minor League options. Each of his competitors can be sent to the Minors without having to be exposed to other clubs via waivers.