The Giants are signing second baseman Kensuke Tanaka, an All-Star and Gold Glover in Japan, to a minor-league contract and inviting him to spring training, industry sources said Wednesday.

Tanaka, 31, is a career .286 hitter with a .356 on-base percentage and batted .303 with three homers and 32 RBIs in 114 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters, his season shortened by an elbow injury.

He'd be pursuing a utility role. The Giants' top backup infielder is Joaquin Arias, and they signed journeyman Wilson Valdez last month, also to a minor-league deal. It's unlikely they'll re-sign infielder Ryan Theriot.

Tanaka, who bats left-handed, is a former teammate of Yu Darvish, now with the Rangers.

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