By Dave van Dyck, Tribune reporter
3:33 PM CST, January 10, 2013
The Chicago Cubs have invited 16 non-roster players to spring training major league camp in Mesa, Ariz., including former White Sox infielder Brent Lillibridge.
The Cubs also announced Thursday that third baseman Luis Valbuena avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a contract.
Lillibridge had a breakhthrough season with the Sox in 2011, hitting 13 homers and driving in 29 runs in 97 games while playing the infield and outfield. But he played little last season and was traded to Boston at the end of July in the deal that brought third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
The Red Sox subsequently traded Lillibridge to the Indians for a minor league pitcher and then was granted his release after the season.
Lillibridge could become a valuable backup for the Cubs, who had Jeff Baker in that role last season. Lillibridge has played all infield positions, including first base, and all three outfield positions.
In addition to Lillibridge, the Cubs also signed the following to minor league contracts that include an invitation to camp: outfielder Brian Bogusevic, catcher J.C. Boscan, right-handers Andrew Carpenter and Jaye Chapman, outfielder Johermyn Chavez, right-hander Dayan Diaz, infielder Alberto Gonzalez, right-hander Jensen Lewis, infielder Edwin Maysonet, outfielder Darnell McDonald, first baseman/outfielder Brad Nelson, right-handers Blake Parker and Zack Putnam, left-hander Hisanori Takahashi and right-hander Cory Wade.
Lillibridge, a proficient user of social media, tweeted: “Love Chicago way to (sic) much to leave!!! Excited for the chance, and confident in what I have to offer. I’ve put in the work, ready to play!”
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