DENVER -- The Indians, owners of a backup third baseman they hardly ever use, added another depth option at Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday.
Morgan Ensberg, who has 731 games of big league experience under his belt with the Astros, Padres and Yankees, was signed to a Minor League deal and sent to the Bisons, two weeks after the Yanks designated the 32-year-old for assignment.
"It's an opportunity for us to add depth to the organization," assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He can play first base, he can play third base, and he's proven himself as a Major League hitter in the past. If he can regain that form, he can be a depth option for us."
The form Antonetti refers to is what Ensberg displayed in 2005, when he hit .283 with 36 homers and 101 RBIs in 150 games for the Astros. His production has dropped drastically from that point, and he was batting just .203 (15-for-74) with a homer and four RBIs for the Yankees this year.
"If you look at his track record, he's been productive in the past," Antonetti said. "Our hope is that he can work back toward that."
The Indians' hopes that this would be the year Andy Marte proves himself as the club's third baseman of the future haven't gone that way. Marte, who is out of Minor League options and has been with the team all season, has played in just 20 games, batting .152 with no homers or RBIs.
"I didn't take him into consideration," Ensberg told the Buffalo News. "It just seemed like a good fit. The Indians have a good reputation."
Buffalo manager Torey Lovullo told the Buffalo News that Ensberg will be the everyday third baseman for the Bisons.
Indians manager Eric Wedge insisted that nothing should be read into the Ensberg signing, when it comes to potential trades at the big league level.
"It's just protection, with some of the injuries we've had," Wedge said. "Sometimes you're one injury away from being naked. You want to make sure you have experience down there."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.