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Kosuke Fukudome signs with White Sox

Kosuke Fukudome was starting right fielder for NL All-Star team as rookie with Cubs 2008.  |   Scott

Kosuke Fukudome was the starting right fielder for the NL All-Star team as a rookie with the Cubs in 2008. | Scott Stewart-Sun-Times

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Updated: February 14, 2012 2:01PM

The White Sox upgraded their outfield defense and added a left-handed bat to their roster with the signing of free agent Kosuke Fukudome on Tuesday.

The Sox had been the only team in baseball without a free-agent signing this offseason. Fukudome, 34, the former Cub who spent the last two months of last season with the Cleveland Indians, agreed to terms on a one-year, $1-million contract which includes a club option for 2013. Fukudome will receive $500,000 in 2012. The Sox hold a $3.5-million option for 2013, including a $500,000 buyout.

“Kosuke adds to our outfield depth and gives Robin another left-handed bat to mix into the lineup based on matchups,” said assistant general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “He can play center field and right and provides flexibility to our roster.”

Outfield defense was a Sox problem last season, particularly in left field and center.

Fukudome combined to hit .262 with 27 doubles in 530 at-bats between the Cubs and Indians last season. He hit eight home runs, had 35 RBI and scored 59 runs in 146 games. The Indians acquired him on July 28 for outfielder Abner Abreu and pitcher Carlton Smith.

Fukudome was a highly sought-after free agent before the 2008 season who chose the Cubs over, among other teams, the Sox. He made the All-Star team his rookie season but never lived up to his four-year, $48 million contract with these lifetime numbers: .260, 110 doubles, 42 home runs, 191 RBI, 262 runs scored and 299 walks.

For $1 million, this appears to be a good addition for the Sox. He will wear uniform No. 1.

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