Cleveland Indians sign free agent 1B David Cooper

By Tom Withers | Associated Press Published:

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have signed free agent first baseman David Cooper to a major league contract.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

The 26-year-old finished last season with Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus after signing with the Indians in August. A former first-round pick of Toronto, Cooper batted .300 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 45 games with the Blue Jays in 2012.

A left-handed hitter, Cooper's 2012 season ended early because of a serious back injury he sustained while diving to first on a pickoff attempt. Cooper underwent surgery in 2013 to have a plate and screws inserted into his vertebrae. He was released by the Blue Jays in March and underwent surgery in April before signing with the Indians.

If Cooper becomes a productive player for Cleveland, the Indians should be able to hold onto his rights for a signifigant period of time, as the 26-year-old does not even have one full year of service time yet. That means Cooper should not be arbitration eligible until after 2016 or eligible for free agency until after 2019.

In 2011, Cooper led the Pacific Coast League in average (.364) and doubles (51) for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2011. He was the No. 17 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

A Scotkton, CA native, Cooper played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton and the University of California.

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