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Padres sign A.J. Ellis to minor-league deal

The veteran heads back west to compete for a backup spot with San Diego.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres have signed catcher A.J. Ellis to a minor-league deal, a source told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The contract includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Ellis will be a non-roster invitee at spring training, where pitchers and catchers for San Diego will hold its first workout on Thursday. The 36-year-old will compete with six other players — Luis Torrens, Rocky Gale, Raffy Lopez, Austin Allen and Stephen McGee — for the backup spot behind starter Austin Hedges, with Gale and Lopez appearing to be solid candidates for the spot.

Ellis appeared in 51 games for the Marlins last year, hitting just .210/.298/.371 with six homers while backing up J.T. Realmuto. He has bounced around a bit over the past couple seasons, spending time with the Phillies and Marlins after appearing in his first nine major-league seasons with the Dodgers.

Ellis owns a career .237/.340/.348 line with 43 homers in 10 major-league campaigns. He’s the latest newcomer to a Padres club that has been somewhat active this winter, along with Chase Headley, Freddy Galvis, Tyson Ross, Bryan Mitchell, Kazuhisa Makita and Allen Craig.