The Royals announced this afternoon that they have claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. Kottaras was designated for assignment last week after Oakland acquired John Jaso from the Mariners in the three-team Michael Morse deal.
Some speculated that the catching-starved Yankees should have put in a claim, but because the Royals finished at 72-90 last year, they had a higher waiver priority. Kottaras signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Oakland earlier this month to avoid arbitration, so the Royals will now be responsible for his 2013 salary.
Kottaras, 29, batted .211/.351/.415 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and a .766 OPS over 85 games last season between the Brewers and Athletics. He figures to serve as Salvador Perez’s primary backup this year.
Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.
Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.