February 13, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) Rickie Weeks understands his career as only a second baseman is likely over.

He's ready to embrace the idea of being a utility player, even if that means learning positions he hasn't played since becoming a professional.

''I'm not going to say it's easy. Anytime you change positions it's going to take work but I have no problem working hard. That's never been the case,'' Weeks said on a conference call. ''For me it's not going to be easy but I don't think it's going to be hard either.''

Weeks finalized a $2 million, one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, adding depth to a talented roster just before the start of spring training. The Mariners announced the deal following the completion of a physical. Weeks can earn another $2 million in performance bonuses plus additional award bonuses.

Weeks gives the Mariners additional versatility in the infield and another potential option as a backup in the outfield. In 121 games last season with Milwaukee, he hit .274 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. He became a free agent after the Brewers voided his $11.5 million salary for 2015, a right the team had because Weeks failed to have at least 1,200 plate appearances in 2013-14, including 600 or more last year.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik noted Weeks had played a little outfield when he was in college at Southern.

''There is going to be a learning curve there. I don't think it's going to be instantly easy for him,'' said Zduriencik, who was with Weeks in Milwaukee early in his career. ''But because he has played there and he's willing to do it, I certainly think it's worth the opportunity to see him out there. I think he'll do fine.''

Weeks said he didn't know what group he'll be working with when position players report for spring training.

''That's probably one of the first questions I'm going to ask when I get there,'' Weeks said.

Throughout his career with Milwaukee, Weeks has only played second base and was a designated hitter a handful of time during interleague games.

Weeks' skill as an infielder should make him a potential option as a backup at second base, shortstop and third base. Seattle is already set with its starters having All-Stars Robinson Cano at second base and Kyle Seager at third base. The shortstop job is expected to be settled between Chris Taylor and Brad Miller.

Weeks could also be an option to backup Logan Morrison at first base and potentially work in the outfield. The other utility player currently on Seattle's roster, Willie Bloomquist, is coming back from major knee surgery last season. Bloomquist is expected to be ready for spring training.

Weeks was an All-Star in 2011 with the Brewers, but his best season came in 2010 when he hit a career-high 29 home runs and drove in 83 runs. Where Weeks could be a boost is adding another right-handed bat to a lineup that was lefty heavy last season. The Mariners signed Nelson Cruz and traded for Justin Ruggiano in the offseason to add more balance to the batting order and Weeks is another option for manager Lloyd McClendon.

''It's a good move just because of where I'm at right now in the whole process,'' Weeks said.

NOTES: Weeks would get $30,000 for 300 plate appearances and each additional five through 395; $40,000 for 400 and each additional five through 495; and $50,000 for 500 and each additional five through 555. The contract also has a provision capping those plate appearances bonuses at $2 million.

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