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Well-traveled Henry Blanco trying to make D-backs’ roster as player, not a coach

Henry Blanco has become quite the journeyman during his 15-year career in Major League Baseball.

The 42-year-old catcher has toured both the American and National League, making 11 different stops
since being signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in 1989.

Now in the twilight of his career, Blanco wanted to make sure his final stop was just right.

So back in Dec. 2013, the Venezuelan agreed to a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks — a team he played for from 2011-12.

“This is the place,” Blanco told reporters upon arriving at Salt River Fields Thursday. “This is the place I want to be. Hopefully, everything works out pretty good.

“The friendship and the time we spent together here [set this place apart]. We won the division two years ago, and I think it was pretty special. We pretty much have the same guys here, so hopefully we can do it again.”

For Blanco, everything should work out one way or the other. While his minor-league deal does not guarantee him a spot on Arizona’s 25-man roster, the veteran backstop will likely take on a role as an assistant hitting coach if beaten out by Tuffy Gosewisch for the backup catcher job.

But even though a Plan B is still in place should he struggle to impress this spring, Blanco admittedly would prefer to suit up this season as a player, not a coach.

“We’ll see how that works out,” said Blanco. “Right now, I have my set on trying to make this club as a player. We will see what will happen in the next couple of weeks. We’ll probably have some time then to decide what we’re going to do.”

In 2013, Blanco hit .142 with three home runs and 14 RBI with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.