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Crew inks catcher Bethancourt to Minors deal

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The Christian Bethancourt experiment has come to an end with a move to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers inked the strong-armed Bethancourt to a Minor League contract on Monday that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp. They announced the 26-year-old as a catcher, ending, for now, a two-year stint in the Padres' system during which Bethancourt worked as a two-way threat.

MILWAUKEE -- The Christian Bethancourt experiment has come to an end with a move to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers inked the strong-armed Bethancourt to a Minor League contract on Monday that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training camp. They announced the 26-year-old as a catcher, ending, for now, a two-year stint in the Padres' system during which Bethancourt worked as a two-way threat.

Bethancourt's tenure in San Diego included 200 at-bats and 5 1/3 innings of mound work at the big league level. In 2017, he made the Padres' Opening Day roster as a reliever but struggled and wound up working mostly as a pitcher at Triple-A El Paso, logging an 8.21 ERA in 34 appearances there.

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Farm director Tom Flanagan confirmed via email that the Brewers signed Bethancourt to catch.

Before Bethancourt, the last hybrid player in MLB was Brooks Kieschnick with the Brewers in 2004. There will be another more high-profile player attempting to fill that role in 2018, as Japanese star Shohei Ohtani settles in with the Angels.

There was a time that Bethancourt ranked among baseball's best prospects when he was in the Braves' system. He was on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list heading into the 2012, '14 and '15 seasons but he has not yet gained a foothold in the Majors. In 489 plate appearances over parts of five seasons, he has a .222/.252/.316 slash line. Bethancourt hits and throws right-handed.

The Brewers have all four of their 2017 catchers returning in '18, led by the right-left tandem of Manny Pina and Stephen Vogt, who are both out of options. The third catcher, Jett Bandy, is also out of options, and Andrew Susac has one remaining.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

 

Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Bethancourt