Veteran infielder Nick Punto, who had agreed to a minor league pact and a Spring Training invite with the Diamondbacks, will not report to D-Backs camp and is “shutting it down” for the 2015 season, manager Chip Hale told reporters, including FOX Sports Arizona’s Jody Jackson (Twitter links). Hale stressed that Punto isn’t retiring, but the 37-year-old has decided for the time being that he’d prefer to spend more time with his family.
A gifted defender at second base, third base and shortstop, Punto has never been known for his bat, but he slumped to one of the worst seasons of his career in 2014, hitting .207/.296/.293 in 224 plate appearances for the A’s. He still played enough for a $2.75MM vesting option to trigger, but the Athletics elected to release him when in need of a roster spot in December.
In a 14-year career between the Twins, Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals, Red Sox and A’s, the affable Punto is a .245/.323/.323 hitter in 3,734 plate appearances. His best season came with the 2006 Twins, when he hit .290/.352/.373 with excellent defense at all three of the aforementioned infield positions (primarily at third base, however).
Via Jackson’s colleague, Jack Magruder (on Twitter), Hale said the D-Backs have no intention to add another veteran infielder for depth purposes.