D-backs close to signing Geoff Blum

PHOENIX — The D-backs are on the verge of taking their first step towards strengthening their bench.

Arizona is closing in on a deal with veteran free agent Geoff Blum on a two-year contract a baseball source confirmed Thursday. The deal could be announced as soon as Friday.

Blum hit .267 for the Astros last year, his 12th season in the big leagues. The switch-hitter played first, second, third and shortstop last year and has also played left and right fields in his career.

Of his 218 plate appearances last year, 44 of them came as a pinch-hitter. In those situations, Blum hit .333 with a .364 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging percentage.

Arizona GM Kevin Towers has stressed since taking over the reigns in September his preference for having veteran hitters coming off the bench.

“It’s hard for young guys to be effective pinch-hitters coming off the bench,” Towers said just before the close of the 2010 season. “If you don’t have that experience or those guys that are threats it makes it pretty easy on the opposing manager because he has no fear of anyone that is coming off the bench.”

The D-backs had young players like Rusty Ryal, Gerardo Parra and Brandon Allen coming off the bench at times last year.

Blum played for Towers when he was the general manager in San Diego from 2005-07.

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