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Marlins close to inking Downs to Minors deal

Marlins close to inking Downs to Minors deal
MIAMI -- More infield depth with big league experience could be joining the Marlins in Spring Training.

Miami is close to signing Matt Downs to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.

The 28-year-old utility infielder spent the past three seasons with the Astros. In 2012, he appeared in 91 games and he batted .202 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs.

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Downs would give the Marlins versatility, because he has played second base, third base, shortstop and first base. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has also logged time the outfield.

A right-handed hitter, Downs would also be a pinch-hitting option.

Over the past two seasons, Downs has combined for 18 home runs in just 377 at-bats.

Downs, who attended the University of Alabama, was a 36th-round pick of the Giants in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He made his big league debut in 2009, and he joined the Astros in 2010.

In 254 MLB games, Downs has a .230 batting average with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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