Cardinals Sign LaRue

The St. Louis Cardinals have re-upped with catcher Jason LaRue, bringing back the veteran for a third season as Yadier Molina’s backup, and they have signed six-year free agent Ruben Gotay to a minor-league deal that comes with an invitation to major-league spring training.

Both players were signed to one-year deals, the club announced this afternoon.

The return of LaRue was reported earlier here at Cardinal Beat and also this morning on the club’s official Twitter feed (@MLBSTLCardinals). The Cardinals had expressed an interest in exploring options at backup catcher, possibly looking for an offensive upgrade or a catcher that could handle more innings. Molina led the National League in starts at catcher this past season, and he finished second in the NL in innings caught to Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

Financial terms of the deals were not immediately known. LaRue is coming off a deal that paid him $950,000.

Gotay, 26, spent last season with Class AAA Reno, where he played both second base and third base. Gotay has nearly years of major-league experience, including stints with the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets. In 2009, he hit .272 in Triple-A with a compelling .429 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging. He had 11 home runs and 29 doubles for Reno, but he also had more walks (102) than hits (101). He struck out 69 times. As a switch-hitter who can play multiple positions in the field he fits the mold of players who have made the major-league roster out of spring training before, from Abe Nunez and Aaron Miles to lefthanded-hitting Joe Thurston.

                        Gotay has a career average of .255 with a career .315 on-base percentage in 316 big-league games.

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