Yesterday I looked at the pitchers that were free agent, non-roster invites to Spring Training. Today, I’m featuring the catchers (since they’ll be reporting first with the pitchers). All three are minor league veterans who have each had a cup of coffee at the Major League level.
Luke Carlin – The 31-year-old Carlin spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons in the Indians organization at Triple-A Columbus. He hit .213/.364/.335 with five home runs for the Clippers in 2011. Fans may best remember him from a short stint with the Tribe in 2010; in 14 at-bats he hit .357/.438/.786 with two home runs.
Michel Hernandez – Even though he spent part of the 2011 season in the Indians farm system, the 33-year-old Hernandez has bounced around through a number of organizations throughout his career. He spent time in the Majors in 2003, 2008 and 2009, and in 118 career at-bats hit .237/.286/.305 with one home run. He’s had a respectable minor league career, hitting .263/.337/.347 over the course of 14 seasons. In 2011 at Columbus, he hit .304/.385/.522 with one home run.
Matt Pagnozzi – With just 71 career Major League at-bats over three years, Pagnozzi hit .310/.364/.380 with one home run. In 2011 he split time between the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates, in addition to Colorado’s Triple-A club. The 29-year-old Pagnozzi has much lower career numbers in the minors – .220/.296/.306 over nine seasons.
With some of the bullpen arms invited to Spring Training, there’s always a chance that one of them impresses the coaching staff and makes the team. An injury could easily allow for a spot to open up, either during Spring Training or right after the season starts. I don’t really see any of these guys at the Major League level for the Indians this year unless there are a number of injuries. In that case, any of these three could probably step up if something happens to Carlos Santana or Lou Marson. They’re veterans that would be able to handle a pitching staff, even if they are not as sharp offensively.