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D-backs sign free agents Bloomquist, Heilman to contracts
01/18/2011 6:28 PM ET
(PHOENIX) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today they have agreed to terms with infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist on a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2012 and right-handed pitcher Aaron Heilman on a one-year contract for 2011, according to D-backs' Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers.

The D-backs also designated right-handed pitchers Brian Sweeney and Daniel Stange for assignment to assign Bloomquist and Heilman to the 40-man roster.

"Aaron Heilman was seeking an opportunity this offseason to become a starting pitcher and we were looking to acquire additional veteran depth to compete for a starting rotation spot," Towers said. "Heilman will have a chance to compete for the fifth spot in our rotation this spring. Adding a veteran like Willie Bloomquist that can play anywhere on the field further diversifies our options off the bench this season, plus he is familiar to the Phoenix area after an All-American career at ASU."

Bloomquist, 33, hit .267 (50-for-187) with 31 runs scored, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 17 RBI in 83 games for the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds last season. In 72 games for the Royals, he batted .265 (45-for-170) with 31 runs scored, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 17 RBI. He was traded to the Reds on Sept. 13 and hit .294 (5-for-17) in 11 games. Over parts of 9 seasons in the Majors with the Seattle Mariners, Royals and Reds, he has batted .264 (495-for-1,876) with 274 runs scored, 67 doubles, 15 triples, 13 home runs, 144 RBI and 104 stolen bases in 748 career games. The utility player has logged time defensively at seven positions, appearing in 37 games at first base, 106 at second base, 121 at third base, 150 at shortstop, 68 in left field, 124 in center field and 118 in right field. He had his best offensive season in 2009 with the Royals, setting career highs with 125 games, 434 at-bats, 52 runs scored, 115 hits, 8 triples, 4 home runs, 29 RBI, 27 walks and 25 stolen bases.

On Opening Day, Bloomquist will become the first Arizona State University baseball alumnus to play for the D-backs. Drafted by the Seattle Mariners as their third-round selection in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, the former Sun Devils' 3-year college career was highlighted by Pac-10 Player of the Year honors and First-Team All-American honors by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger and ABCA All-West District following his junior season in 1999. He was originally drafted by the Mariners in the eighth-round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft out of South Kitsap (Port Orchard, Wash.) High School but accepted a scholarship to ASU.

Heilman, 32, posted a 5-8 record and 4.50 ERA (36 ER in 72.0 IP) with 26 walks and 55 strikeouts while also securing a career-high 6 saves in a team-high 70 games with the D-backs last season. He also had 8 consecutive scoreless outings (10.1 IP) from July 21-Aug. 6, the longest such streak for a D-backs reliever in 2010. Over parts of 8 Major League seasons with the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and D-backs, Heilman owns a 31-45 record and 4.25 ERA (281 ER in 594.2 IP) with 245 walks and 515 strikeouts. Since 2006, he is the lone reliever in the Majors with five straight seasons of at least 70 appearances. Heilman posted a 5-13 record and 5.93 ERA (88 ER in 133.2 IP) with 66 walks and 106 strikeouts in 25 starts prior to being moved to the bullpen in 2005. Among all relievers since 2005, he ranks first with 459.1 innings pitched and tied for third with 419 appearances and 91 holds. Heilman was selected by the Mets in the first round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

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