Blue Jays sign catchers Jeff Mathis, Yorvit Torrealba
The Toronto Blue Jays locked down two catchers while J.P. Arencibia continues to heal.
Toronto signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a minor-league deal Tuesday with the intention of having him catch at the major-league level starting next week.
The Blue Jays also announced that they signed 29-year-old Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract extension of US$3-million for 2013-2014 with a club option of $1.5-million for 2015.
"Obviously J.P, is the starter," said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos during Tuesday's game against the Chicago White Sox. "Jeff is a great complement to him. He's a great defender, a tremendous athlete, and a great teammate and he accepts the role. If we don't have him, we're looking for that guy.
"Jeff is going to be in the big leagues for a long time and he's a guy who is great for this role."
Mathis has been doing most of the catching with Arencibia on the disabled list with a broken hand.
Traded to Toronto from the Los Angeles Angels in December, Mathis is batting .215 with nine doubles, six homers and 19 runs batted in in 46 games. He has one error in 305 chances.
An eight-year veteran, Mathis is a career .196 hitter with 32 homers and 158 RBIs.
Torrealba will be assigned to double-A New Hampshire where he will play four games before joining the Blue Jays to share catching duties with Mathis.
The 34-year-old Torrealba broke into the majors in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants and most recently was with the Texas Rangers before being released last month. He was batting .236 with three homers and 12 runs batted in with the Rangers,
In his career he is batting .258 with 55 homers and 321 RBIs in 831 games.
"Torrealba is an established big-league player who has had some success," Anthopoulos said. "He's going to New Hampshire and will go down for four games and will join the team in Detroit and will be activated Tuesday as long as there are no health issues. We are thin [at catching at the major-league level] and it was a chance to get a quality big-league player."
The Blue Jays top prospect is catcher Travis d'Arnaud who was having a big year at triple-A Las Vegas before a knee injury put him out of action. Anthopoulos said Tuesday's deals won't affect his future with the team.