Blue Jays sign George Kottaras

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Released by the Cardinals when they signed A.J. Pierzynski, journeyman catcher George Kottaras has joined the Blue Jays on a minor-league contract.

Kottaras has a solid .740 career OPS in 309 games, which is actually above average for a starting catcher and very strong for a backup, but his poor defense and low batting averages have caused him to endlessly bounce around from organization to organization.

Since the end of last season he’s been with the Royals, Cubs, Indians, Cardinals, and now Blue Jays, and previously the 31-year-old also played for the A’s, Padres, Red Sox, and Brewers.

For now he’ll head to Triple-A, where Kottaras has logged 1,124 career plate appearances in parts of six different seasons.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.