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Decker inks deal with Brewers

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added to their catching pool by announcing a Minor League agreement with power hitter Cody Decker, who will convert full time to catcher after playing a variety of positions over his first eight professional seasons.

Decker, who will play for Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic and is there now participating in a goodwill tour, hinted at the agreement on Saturday, and the club announced it early Monday. It does not include an invitation to Major League camp.

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers added to their catching pool by announcing a Minor League agreement with power hitter Cody Decker, who will convert full time to catcher after playing a variety of positions over his first eight professional seasons.

Decker, who will play for Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic and is there now participating in a goodwill tour, hinted at the agreement on Saturday, and the club announced it early Monday. It does not include an invitation to Major League camp.

Decker began adding catcher to his repertoire at Triple-A Tucson in 2013 under then-manager Pat Murphy, who is now Milwaukee's bench coach. Decker briefly played in the Majors for the Murphy-managed Padres in '15, going hitless in 12 plate appearances.

Decker will turn 30 this month, and he has hit at least 19 home runs in six of his Minor League seasons including 2016, when he slashed .230/.284/.484 with 19 homers in 84 games for the Red Sox, Rockies and Royals organizations.

Tweet from @Decker6: Contract signed! The big dog is going behind the plate this year, where he belongs! And I always looked my best in Navy Blue!.....

The Brewers are undergoing a changing of the guard behind the plate after employing the duo of Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado for the past five seasons. Lucroy was traded to the Rangers in August, and Maldonado was dealt to the Angels in December for catcher Jett Bandy, who will vie with Manny Pina and Andrew Susac for starts in 2017.

If Decker starts the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, he would join incumbent catcher Adam Weisenburger.

Decker is active on Twitter (@Decker6) and he has been sharing scenes from his trip to Israel with WBC teammates Ike Davis, Sam Fuld and others, plus Dodgers farm director (and former Brewers outfielder) Gabe Kapler. The players have been accompanied by filmmakers from Ironbound Films, who are shooting for a documentary film project titled "Heading Home."

Tweet from @WBCBaseball: "I hope that everyone, if they aren't baseball fans, they become baseball fans." - @Decker6 on @ILBaseball trip. https://t.co/PU8H7uCtF3 pic.twitter.com/TvyUBBd9bE

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Cody Decker