Astros sign veteran catcher Butera

Minor League deal made with Castro's knee injury in mind

September 1st, 2021

SEATTLE -- With backup catcher Jason Castro on the injured list with a knee injury, the Astros made a move to bolster their catching depth Tuesday by signing 38-year-old veteran to a Minor League deal. He’ll report to Triple-A Sugar Land in the coming days and should presumably join the Astros at some point in the season's final month.

The signing of Butera is a signal Castro’s injury could keep him out of action for the rest of the season. Castro was placed on the injured list on Sunday, and the club has said in recent days that Castro is seeking a second opinion. The Astros called up Garrett Stubbs to back up Martín Maldonado on Sunday in Castro's absence.

Butera appeared in 12 games with the Angels in May after signing with the Rangers in the offseason (he was traded to the Angels in May). He spent most of this season with the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake City, where he appeared in 49 games, hitting .222 with seven doubles, a triple, four home runs and 11 RBIs.

Prior to this stint with Houston, Butera has played 12 years in the big leagues with five different clubs, including the Twins (2010-13), Dodgers (2013-14), Angels (2015 and 2021), Royals (2015-18) and Rockies (2018-20). A solid defender, he’s a career .196/.252/.290 hitter with 19 homers.

He also has postseason experience, as he saw limited action as a member of the 2015 World Series champion Royals team, with whom he caught the final out. He was also a member of the 2018 Rockies club that defeated the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game. Aside from his postseason experience, Butera has also caught two no-hitters in his Major League career.

Butera even played a role in the Royals' eighth-inning comeback in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS against the Astros. With the game tied at 6, Butera drew a 10-pitch walk with one out and two men on. Alex Gordon followed with a grounder to drive in the go-ahead run.