The Washington Times - December 28, 2011, 12:13PM

The Washington Nationals announced the signing of utility man Mark DeRosa on Wednesday morning, making official one of their moves to re-stock their bench for 2012.

DeRosa, who has missed much of the previous two seasons with a wrist injury, can play both infield and outfield and serve as a right-handed bat off the bench — which is why he was a target of the Nationals all offseason. Washington’s courtship of the 36-year-old started early in November when manager Davey Johnson called DeRosa personally to recruit him. Johnson, who managed DeRosa in the World Baseball Classic in 2009, speaks highly of him.


“I looked at his last two years and they weren’t too stellar,” Johnson said at the winter meetings in early December. “I know he had injured his left wrist but I had him in the World Baseball Classic and he’s a really quality guy. I really like him.

“If he’s healthy, he fits the role about as good as you can get.”

DeRosa has played just 73 total games since the end of the 2009 season, hitting .149 with San Francisco in 2010 and .279 this past season with the Giants. He struggled throughout with a left wrist issue that required surgery in and around his ECU tendon. 

According to sources familiar with the negotiation, the Nationals expect DeRosa to be fully healthy, now two years removed from the surgery — which would give them precisely the type of versatile power threat off the bench they were looking for. From 2006-2009, DeRosa averaged a .281 batting average, .356 on-base percentage and .448 slugging percentage. In 2008 and 2009, DeRosa hit 21 and 23 home runs, respectively. 

His addition also helps cushion the blow of the Nationals losing first baseman Chris Marrero to a torn hamstring while playing in the Dominican Winter League and allows Johnson the leeway to potentially platoon left-hander Adam LaRoche at first base. 

Over the course of his 14-season career, DeRosa has played every position in the field except for center field, catcher and pitcher. He’s also started at least 75 games at four positions, including 282 games at third, 265 at second, 135 in right field and 79 at shortstop.