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02/15/10 5:51 PM EST
Rangers interested in catcher J. Molina
Veteran would offer depth for tenuous catching situation
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitchers and catchers go through their first workout on Friday, but the club's offseason work may not be done. The Rangers are still perusing the remaining available free agents and catching remains a concern. Free-agent catcher Jose Molina is of interest to them, according to industry sources. "We're interested in catching depth and we're interested in several good players who could give us options and depth," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. Catching is a concern because Jarrod Saltalamacchia is coming off shoulder surgery and the Rangers are still unsure how quickly he'll be at 100 percent in Spring Training. Right now, he and Taylor Teagarden are competing for the No. 1 catching spot. The Rangers have also signed veteran Toby Hall to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. He will be one of six catchers in camp along with Minor Leaguers Max Ramirez, Emerson Frostad and Kevin Richardson. Molina, whose strength is his defense, would add to the depth if he is willing to come to camp on a Minor League contract and compete for a job. He is a 10-year Major League veteran who was the Yankees' backup catcher in each of the past two seasons. Molina, 34, has thrown out 37.4 percent of attempted basestealers in his career, the seventh best among 62 active catchers with at least 100 career games behind the plate. He also has a catcher's ERA of 3.92 in his career, third best in that group. Offensively, he is a career .235 hitter with a .277 on-base percentage and a .332 slugging percentage. He batted .217 with four doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs in 52 games and 138 at-bats for the Yankees last year. Other notable free-agent catchers include Rod Barajas and Paul Bako. Barajas is not considered an option right now for the Rangers. Molina appears to be the guy the Rangers are considering. "You can never have enough good players," Daniels said.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.