Padres Seek Backup Catcher

The Padres expect to ease catcher Nick Hundley into a bigger role in 2011, but they’ll look to complement him with a backup, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times. GM Jed Hoyer said the Padres are not looking for someone to play as much as Yorvit Torrealba did in 2010. Instead, the Padres are looking for a catcher who can "play a fair amount” while Hundley starts 95 games, Hoyer says.

Gerald Laird, Bengie Molina, Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Jason Varitek and Gregg Zaun are among the free agent catchers who could be willing to accept part-time jobs, so they could fit in San Diego if their demands fit the Padres' budget. It’s too early to rule out Henry Blanco and Yorvit Torrealba, the two catchers who shared time with Hundley in 2009-10, but A.J. Pierzynski probably isn't a fit. He said he'd like to catch in San Diego, but other teams figure to offer more playing time and more money.

Hundley hits lefties (.672 career OPS) and righties (.708 career OPS) at about the same rate, so  the Padres can consider backstops who bat from either side of the plate. Manager Bud Black says the organization believes in Hundley “as a major league catcher” at this point in his career. The 27-year old batted .249/.308/.418 in 307 plate appearances in 2010 and he threw out a career-best 29% of would-be base stealers.

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