MESA, Ariz. -- When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, catcher Victor Caratini's family was one of the hundreds of thousands without power. The Cubs helped by sending generators to Caratini's family as well as others connected to the team.This offseason, Caratini made a decision to move to Arizona
MESA, Ariz. -- When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, catcher Victor Caratini's family was one of the hundreds of thousands without power. The Cubs helped by sending generators to Caratini's family as well as others connected to the team.
This offseason, Caratini made a decision to move to Arizona so he could train at the club's spring complex in Mesa rather than try to prepare for 2018 in Puerto Rico. Doing so may have helped him win a spot on the Opening Day roster.
"It's very exciting and I'm happy to make the team for Opening Day," Caratini said on Sunday about being named the backup catcher. "I'm happy for me and my family."
Caratini, 24, batted .237 in 19 spring games and earned the Opening Day assignment over veteran Chris Gimenez.
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"Victor has demonstrated he's Major League ready," manager Joe Maddon said on Saturday. "Gimmy has demonstrated he's one of the better backup catchers in all of baseball."
Caratini made his Major League debut last season with the Cubs, batting .254 in 31 games. Then, he had to make a decision.
"I moved [to Arizona] because of what happened in Puerto Rico," Caratini said. "I thought the best way to train was to be here early. I had good workouts and worked hard. Those three months, four months, that's when I put in the work."
His family went two weeks without water in Puerto Rico after the storm hit and 100 days without power, finally getting electricity restored on Jan. 16.
"It was tough to stay in Puerto Rico and work out," Caratini said. "There was no field available to do anything. I have the best facility here, the field and a big weight room. It's easier for me here."
Caratini would like to see his family move to the U.S., but he said it would be difficult because his parents and grandparents all live there.
"It would be tough to move and [have my father] leave his brothers and whole family there," Caratini said. "It'd be tough."
And now he's on the Opening Day roster.
"We're really comfortable with Vic," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He had one of the best offseasons of anyone in camp as far as coming out here, getting in shape, being dedicated. He keeps getting better as a player. Our guys are comfortable with what he brings. ... We decided Vic was the right fit for this team."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.