White Sox sign Lastings Milledge

CHICAGO -- Limited to bargain deals to fill out their roster, the Chicago White Sox announced Thursday they agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Lastings Milledge with an invitation to big-league camp at spring training.

The team also announced Thursday that Alexei Ramirez's four-year, $32.5 million extension, which will begin in 2012, is now official.

General manager Kenny Williams told the crowd at SoxFest last month that the team's heavy spending this offseason left just $500,000 available if they wanted to bring in a backup outfielder. Enter Milledge, whose main competition for a roster spot appears to be Alejandro De Aza.

Milledge, 25, has played in 431 games over five major-league seasons with three teams. He began his career with the New York Mets (2006-07), while also playing in Washington (2008-09) and Pittsburgh (2009-10).

The 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Mets is a career .269 hitter with 33 home runs and 167 RBIs.

His best season came in 2008 with the Nationals, batting .268 with 24 doubles, 14 home runs and 61 RBIs and 24 steals. Last season with the Pirates, he batted a career-best .277 with 21 doubles, four home runs and 34 RBIs in 113 games before he was non-tendered in December. Against left-handed pitching last season, the right-handed batter hit .320.

As for Ramirez, he will finish out his existing four-year deal during the upcoming season, when he will make $2.75 million. During the first year of his new four-year extension in 2012 he will make $5 million, followed by $7 million in 2013, $9 million in 2014 and $10 million in 2015. There is also a team option for a fifth year at $10 million with a $1 million buyout.

Ramirez, the American League Silver Award winner from last season batted. 282 in 2010 with 29 doubles, 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 156 games. He not only became the first White Sox shortstop to win a Silver Slugger Award, he was also named to the Sporting News AL All-Star Team.

In three seasons with the White Sox, the Cuba native has batted .283 with 54 home runs and 215 RBIs.

Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.