Free-agent catcher Dioner Navarro plans to resume his career as a member of the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Navarro will return to the field toward the end of July, Topkin adds.
The 34-year-old Navarro last played in 2016, having taken the past year and a half off to help his wife through “significant health issues,” Topkin writes. In his most recent action, the switch-hitting Navarro batted .207/.265/.322 in 334 plate appearances divided between the Blue Jays and White Sox.
While Navarro struggled in 2016, the journeyman has combined for a better career line (.250/.309/.370) across 3,551 plate appearances with eight teams, and he has thrown out a respectable 28 percent of would-be base stealers as a defender. In his best offensive season, 2013, Navarro slashed a terrific .300/.365/.492 with a personal-high 13 home runs in 266 PAs with the Cubs. Navarro also has an All-Star nod under his belt, as he earned a place on the American League team in 2008 – a year in which he hit .295/.349/.407 in 470 PAs and caught 38 percent of attempted base stealers as a member of the pennant-winning Rays.