Mariners bring back catcher Gimenez

Mariners bring back catcher Gimenez

Mariners bring back catcher Gimenez
SEATTLE -- Catcher Chris Gimenez signed a Major League deal with the Mariners on Wednesday, rejoining the 40-man roster just two days after not being tendered an offer at Monday's deadline.

Gimenez, 28, played 24 games with Seattle last year and hit .203 with one home run and six RBIs in 59 at-bats. He's primarily a catcher, but also has seen action at first base and in the outfield during his three Major League seasons, which included part-time duty with the Indians in 2009-10.

Though Gimenez figures to make about the same figure as a minimum-salary Major Leaguer, the re-signing affects the amount the Mariners would pay him if he winds up in the Minors.

"We had every intention of re-signing Chris," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "There was just some procedural stuff that required us to non-tender him before we negotiated a new deal for 2012."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge likes the versatility that Gimenez offers, as well as his clubhouse presence and leadership. Gimenez proved his grittiness in a game against the Braves on June 28, when he played the final four innings with a strained oblique muscle after starter Miguel Olivo had already departed with a sore hamstring.

Knowing the next option behind the plate was utility infielder Adam Kennedy, who had never caught in a game, Gimenez finished out the contest even though he couldn't swing the bat in his final plate appearance. Forced to make a painful sweep tag of Jason Heyward at the plate on a throw from outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in the ninth, Gimenez wound up going on the 60-day injured reserve the following day.

He hit .265 in 13 games on rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma before returning to the Mariners on Sept. 1. He hit .278 (5-for-18) in eight appearances in the final month, including his first home run with a solo shot in Texas on Sept. 25.

Defensively, Gimenez threw out six of 20 basestealers and didn't have a passed ball in 152 innings behind the plate.

His return gives the Mariners four catchers on their 40-man roster, joining Olivo, Adam Moore and newly acquired John Jaso. The club also has signed veteran Guillermo Quiroz to a Minor League deal with a camp invitation, providing much more depth for a position that was thin last year after Moore tore knee ligaments in the first week of the season.

The team's 40-man roster now stands at 37.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.