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Gonzalez passes physical, returns to Brewers

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Gonzalez passes physical, returns to Brewers play video for Gonzalez passes physical, returns to Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez passed a physical exam on Wednesday and signed his one-year deal to return to the Brewers, who tentatively plan to use him as an experienced backup to young shortstop Jean Segura.

To make room for Gonzalez on a full 40-man roster, the Brewers waived right-hander Fautino De Los Santos, who was claimed by the Padres. The Brewers had acquired De Los Santos last season in a trade with the A's.

Gonzalez's deal with the Brewers had been in the works since he reached terms last week. He will earn a $1.45 million base salary, with $1 million more available in incentives for games played and starts.

"He's a talented enough player that we'll find a place for him to play," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "Our initial conversation is that Jean has a little bit of an edge because of what he did last year at the end of the year."

Gonzalez turns 36 on Feb. 15, the date Brewers position players formally report to Maryvale Baseball Park. Segura turns 23 on March 17.

"We're open minded with all of this going into camp," Melvin said. "It's too early to get into guys' roles and how they're going to play and perform."

Gonzalez was Milwaukee's Opening Day shortstop last year but played only 24 games before tearing the ACL in his right knee on May 5 in San Francisco. Gonzalez required surgery and missed the rest of the season. Along the way, the Brewers acquired Segura from the Angels in the Zack Greinke trade, and Segura played 44 games with Milwaukee late in the season.

Gonzalez has appeared exclusively at shortstop in a Major League career that spans 14 seasons with the Marlins, Red Sox, Reds, Blue Jays, Braves and Brewers. But that could change in 2013 if Segura succeeds as the everyday shortstop. Gonzalez played some third base in the Venezuelan Winter League after recovering from his knee injury, and could also see action at second base or even first.

Brewers physicians paid particular attention to the knee during a physical exam in Milwaukee before signing off on the deal.

"There's probably some strength that he needs to get back, but he has seven weeks to do that," Melvin said.

The first wave of Brewers pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on Tuesday, and there is a chance the team is finished adding players. Melvin said he was not engaged in any current discussions with free agents.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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