Jack Cust: Philadelphia Phillies Sign the 32-Year-Old Outfielder

Alex SchuhartCorrespondent IAugust 12, 2011

Power-hitting Jack Cust is now a Phillie.
Power-hitting Jack Cust is now a Phillie.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed 32-year-old outfielder Jack Cust to a minor league contract.

He will be assigned to the Phillies' triple-A team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the International League.

It is unknown in what capacity the power-hitting Cust will be used, however if he earns a promotion to the major leagues in September, it could very likely be as a pinch-hitter off the bench. The Phillies' bench has been rather unimpressive offensively in 2011 and Cust might provide a boost.

He could also be used solely as minor league depth, as he has always been a solid hitter at that level.

The left-handed hitting Cust began the 2011 season with the Seattle Mariners, but was released on August 4 after hitting a meager .213 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 87 strikeouts in 67 games.

A first-round draft pick in 1997, Cust did not become a major league starter until 2007, at age 28. With the Oakland Athletics, he averaged 28 home runs and 76 RBI a year from 2007 to 2009, leading the league in strikeouts each of those seasons.

He also led the league in walks in 2008.

Cust began his major league career in 2001, playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He then had cups of coffee with the Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres, before settling down in Oakland.

He is a .242 hitter at the major league level, with 105 home runs and 323 RBI in 670 games.

In the minors, he has a .285 average, with 204 home runs and 718 RBI in 1,147 games.