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Indians sign catcher Santos to Minors contract

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CLEVELAND -- The Indians signed catcher Omir Santos to a Minor League contract on Tuesday, adding a layer of depth behind the plate.

Santos will attend Spring Training camp as a non-roster invitee, giving the Tribe six catchers to help accommodate the 32 pitchers scheduled to be there. The Indians' pitchers and catchers are required to report to Goodyear, Ariz., on Sunday, and the team's first official workout is slated for Feb. 12.

Carlos Santana will head to camp as the starting catcher, with Lou Marson serving as the leading candidate for the primary backup role. Yan Gomes -- acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays in November -- will be in the mix for a bench job as a third-string catcher and utility option for first base, third base, the outfield and designated hitter.

Santos joins catchers Brian Jeroloman and Roberto Perez on the list of Cleveland's non-roster invitees.

Last season, the 31-year-old Santos spent the bulk of his time between Triple-A Toledo (Tigers) and Triple-A Colorado Springs (Rockies). He hit .310 with two home runs, 16 doubles and 30 RBIs in 61 games at the Triple-A level, and appeared in three games for Detroit. He had a 20 percent caught-stealing rate in the Minors last year.

Santos' best season was in 2009, when he hit .260 with seven homers, 14 doubles and 40 RBIs in 96 games for the Mets. That year, he threw out 30 percent of would-be basestealers at the Major League level.

In parts of four big league seasons with the Orioles, Mets and Tigers, Santos has hit .249 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 121 games, posting a 20 percent caught-stealing rate at baseball's highest level. Across 12 Minor League seasons, he has hit .257 with a .299 on-base percentage, a .349 slugging percentage and a 28 percent caught-stealing rate.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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