Cardinals officially add A.J. Pierzynski; designate George Kottaras for assignment

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch passes along word that the Cardinals have officially signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski and will have him available for today’s game against the Cubs. George Kottaras, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians in the wake of Yadier Molina’s torn thumb ligament, has been designated for assignment to clear a spot on the roster.

Pierzynski was cut loose by the Red Sox last month after he batted just .254/.286/.348 with four home runs and 31 RBI over 72 games. The 37-year-old backstop also apparently wasn’t very popular among his teammates.

Tony Cruz has received most of the playing time since Molina’s injury, but Pierzynski provides a veteran alternative down the stretch. The Cardinals will only have to pay him a prorated portion of the major league minimum.

Report: José Ramírez diagnosed with knee contusion

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Indians third baseman José Ramírez had to be carted off the field in the top of the third inning of Sunday afternoon’s Cactus League game agaisnt the White Sox. Ramírez fouled a pitch off of his leg during an at-bat against pitcher Sean Nolin.

MLB.com’s Mandy Bell reports that Ramírez was diagnosed with a left knee contusion after he was taken for X-rays. The X-rays were negative, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Ramírez, 26, finished third in AL MVP Award voting last season, batting .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, 105 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases across 698 plate appearances. He was worth 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. If Ramírez lands on the injured list, that would obviously be a huge loss for the Indians, despite being the overwhelming favorites in the AL Central entering the season.

The Indians will already start the season without second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor, though both are expected to return before the end of April. The infield is in rough shape at the moment.