FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the moment, the Orioles are thin on backup catchers. Taylor Teagarden is still recuperating from back spasms though he hopes to play early next week.
Being Matt Wieters understudy isn’t a rewarding job. Wieters generally catches about 130 games a season, and his backup plays once and sometimes twice a week.
Luis Exposito, whose defensive play has been atrocious at times this spring, starts on Saturday night against Boston. The Orioles thought they shored up their catching when they acquired Luis Martinez from Texas on waivers, but Martinez strained an oblique muscle before exhibition games started and hasn’t played.
Martinez was sent to minor league camp on Friday, though manager Buck Showalter would like to get some more looks at him when healthy.
Non-roster catcher Jose Gil has no shot at making the time, and Chris Robinson, who is off playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, is ticketed for Norfolk.
If the Orioles decide they’d like to add catchers, industry sources indicate Texas’ Eli Whiteside and Cincinnati’s Miguel Olivo may be available.
The 33-year-old Whiteside started his career with the Orioles, playing nine games in 2005. He spent the last four seasons with San Francisco, and is not on the Rangers’ 40-man roster.
Olivo, who’s 34, has played with six teams, and isn’t on the Reds’ 40-man roster, either.
Another possibility is 32-year-old Chris Snyder, who’s played with Arizona, Pittsburgh and Houston. Snyder is in the Nationals’ camp on a minor league deal and apparently has a late March opt-out clause.