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Rangers bring back catcher Gimenez on Minors deal

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have brought back catcher Chris Gimenez on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The club also added pitcher David Martinez on a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.

Gimenez. 31, played in 34 games with the Rangers this past season and hit .262 with 10 doubles, no home runs and 11 RBIs. He had a .331 on-base percentage and a .355 slugging percentage. Rangers pitchers had a 4.04 ERA with him behind the plate, and he developed a good working relationship with starting pitcher Yu Darvish.

Gimenez was traded to the Indians on Aug. 23 for future considerations. He has played in the Major Leagues in parts of the last five seasons with the Indians, Mariners, Rays and Rangers.

The Rangers entered the offseason looking for catching help. Robinson Chirinos still is expected to see time behind the plate, but the Rangers are looking for a veteran catcher to go with him. The Blue Jays could end up trading Dioner Navarro after they signed Russell Martin to a five-year contract on Thursday.

Signing Gimenez does not mean the Rangers will stop looking for catching help. But he does give them depth and could end up catching in Triple-A. That would allow the Rangers to have top catching prospect Jorge Alfaro to at least begin the season at Double-A Frisco.

Tomas Telis is the only other catcher on the Rangers' roster, with Telis expected to start the season in Triple-A. Telis has been playing in the Venezuelan Winter League but had his season cut short by a hand injury. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said it is not a serious injury, but Telis wasn't expecting to play much longer anyway. He played in 25 games.

Martinez, 27, has pitched his entire career in the Astros organization and has appeared in seven games with them over the past two seasons, going 1-0 with a 6.38 ERA. He pitched in 23 games, including 13 starts, for Triple-A Oklahoma City last season, and was 5-6 with a 5.64 ERA. Martinez is currently pitching in Venezuela and has a 3.91 ERA in five starts.

"He is a big, physical starter who has a power sinker and touched 97 [mph] for our scouts in winter ball," Rangers pro scouting director Josh Boyd said.

Worth noting 
• Second baseman Rougned Odor has been named the Rangers Rookie of the Year. He will be honored at the Rangers Awards Dinner on Jan. 23 at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Odor batted .259 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs in 114 games.

• Darvish, who missed the last seven weeks of the season with mild inflammation in his right elbow, has flown in from Japan and will be re-examined by Dr. Keith Meister next week.

• The Rangers have signed left-handed pitcher Efrain Nieves to a Minor League contract but without an invitation to Spring Training. Nieves, 25, went 3-5 with a 2.29 ERA in 44 games, including four starts, last season with Dunedin, Toronto's Class A Advanced affiliate.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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