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Tribe bolsters catching depth in Minors trade

With injuries at big league, Double-A levels, Indians acquire Wallace

CLEVELAND -- A slew of injuries to a handful of catchers caused a chain reaction, leading the Indians to complete a Minor League trade on Monday.

Cleveland acquired catcher Chris Wallace from the Astros in exchange for Minor League left-hander Eric Berger, adding a much-needed backstop to the Tribe's banged-up catching corps. Wallace has been assigned to Double-A Akron.

The ripple effect began on April 6, when Indians backup catcher Lou Marson suffered a neck strain during a collision at home plate with the Rays' Desmond Jennings. Then on Tuesday, Tribe catcher Carlos Santana injured his left hand after being crossed up on a pitch from closer Chris Perez in the ninth inning of a game against the Yankees.

The Indians placed Marson on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and promoted catchers Yan Gomes and Omir Santos from Triple-A Columbus, allowing Santana to take several days off to rest his bruised thumb. At the Minor League level, Roberto Perez was moved up to Triple-A from Double-A. On Sunday, Double-A catcher Alex Lavisky landed on the Minor League seven-day DL with a broken toe.

Enter Wallace.

The 24-year-old Wallace -- selected by the Astros out of the University of Houston in the 16th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft -- has hit .272 with a .348 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging percentage in parts of four pro seasons. Over that span, the catcher has thrown out would-be basestealers at a 27-percent clip.

Wallace appeared in just one game for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. Last year, he hit .254 with five home runs, 17 doubles and 36 RBIs in 78 games between stints with Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi in Houston's system.

Indians manager Terry Francona used Santana as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the White Sox and said following the game that the catcher "should be good to go" for Tuesday's tilt against the Red Sox. It is possible that if Santana is indeed ready to rejoin the regular lineup, either Gomes or Santos would be sent back down to Triple-A.

Also on Monday, the Indians transferred right-handed reliever Matt Albers to Major League Baseball's Family Medical Emergency List, which allows a player to miss between three to seven games to attend to a personal matter. Albers, who is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA through four appearances with Cleveland this year, was initially placed on the Paternity List on Friday.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
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