The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a minor league deal, according to an announcement from the team. The 33-year old will initially report to Triple-A Indianapolis and will serve as depth at the backstop position behind Russell Martin and Tony Sanchez.
After signing a major league contract last winter, Shoppach began the year with the Mariners and hit .196 with 3 HR and 9 RBI in 35 games before being released in mid-June. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals and struggled in ten games with Triple-A Syracuse before opting out and becoming a free agent on July 31st.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals made an offer to Shoppach once Yadier Molina went down due to injury. Shoppach had the choice of going to either the Pirates or the Cardinals to finish out his season, and decided to head to the NL Central-leading Bucs in hopes of returning to the postseason.
In nine major league seasons with the Red Sox (2005, 2012), Indians (2006-2009), Rays (2010-2011), Mets (2012) and Mariners (2012), Shoppach is a lifetime .224 hitter with 70 HR and 216 RBI. He is a career .280 hitter in nine postseason games, and went 4-for-10 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in the 2011 ALDS with the Rays against the Rangers.