The Pittsburgh Pirates officially announced Monday that they have signed veteran infielder Jose Hernandez to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Hernandez will earn $900,000 if he can secure a spot on Pittsburgh's 40-man roster.

Hernandez, 37, is a former All-Star who can play every position except catcher and pitcher, and he should fill Pittsburgh's need for a utility infielder. During his 15-year big-league career, Hernandez has compiled a .252 average with 168 home runs and 603 RBIs in 1,587 games.

This will be Hernandez's third tour of duty with the Bucs. Hernandez spent the second half of the 2003 season with the Pirates after being acquired in a trade that sent Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs, and he was a member of Pittsburgh's Opening Day roster a year ago before having his contract sold to the Phillies in August.

Pirates skipper Jim Tracy, who has managed Hernandez in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, was thrilled to have Hernandez back in the fold. "I can't say enough good things about him and the number of things he does to help a team," Tracy said. "It was a tough day when he left. He's loved around here."