San Diego signed Gregg Zaun to a minor-league contract and the veteran catcher will get an invitation to spring training, where he’ll compete for the backup job with Rob Johnson.
Zaun missed most of last season following June shoulder surgery and will be 40 years old in April, but if healthy he’s a far superior option than Johnson to play behind starter Nick Hundley.
Zaun has posted an on-base percentage above .340 in seven straight seasons and the switch-hitter batted .265 with a .350 OBP in 28 games for the Brewers last season before shutting things down.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said pitcher Carlos Martínez will work out of the bullpen when he returns from the injured list, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports. Shildt noted that the decision is based on Martínez’s needs rather than the team’s needs, which suggests he may not yet have the strength to pitch as a starter.
Martínez, 27, opened the season on the injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. The right-hander was also injured last year, battling lat and oblique injuries. He will go to extended spring training and likely begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Based on that time frame, Martínez should be activated around mid-May.
Last year, Martínez made 18 starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a 3.11 ERA with five saves and a 117/60 K/BB ratio across 118 2/3 innings. It is unclear what role(s) Martínez will have in the bullpen, but he could eventually help set up for closer Jordan Hicks.