Vizcaino, Giants agree to one-year, $1.25M deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- Utility infielder Jose Vizcaino returned to the San Francisco Giants, agreeing Friday to a $1.25 million, one-year contract.

The 37-year-old Vizcaino, the Giants' starting shortstop in 1997, should provide the team with flexibility at first base in place of the departed J.T. Snow and could share time with both Mark Sweeney and Lance Niekro, who is coming off a solid rookie season.

Vizcaino, who can earn about $400,000 more in performance bonuses, played all four spots in the infield last season for the Houston Astros, who advanced to the World Series before losing to the Chicago White Sox. He could also get time at third base -- Pedro Feliz is slated as the new starter -- after the Giants dealt Edgardo Alfonzo to the Los Angeles Angels this week for Steve Finley.

The 16-year veteran is a switch-hitter with a career .271 batting average with 34 home runs, 472 RBI, 614 runs scored and 74 stolen bases in 1,740 career games. Giants general manager Brian Sabean had been looking to upgrade his lineup this offseason and already added Finley, a left-handed hitter, as insurance in case slugger Barry Bonds isn't fully healthy. Sabean hopes Bonds and outfielder Moises Alou can each play about 120 games in 2006.

Vizcaino, who played the past five seasons with the Astros, has reached the playoffs with the Cleveland Indians, Giants, New York Yankees and Astros. He batted .246 last season with one home run and 23 RBI and had two stolen bases in 98 games. He started 34 games, including 12 at shortstop, 10 at second base, eight at first base and four at third base.

In 1997, Vizcaino was part of San Francisco's NL West champion team.