ARLINGTON (AP) – Matt Treanor wanted to stay with the Texas Rangers, even knowing he is expected to be the backup catcher.
“For me, it was a no-brainer,” Treanor said Monday after getting an $850,000, one-year contract from the American League champions. “I was going to try and come back with Texas if they’d have me.”
The Rangers last month signed free agent Yorvit Torrealba from San Diego to a $6.25 million, two-year deal.
Treanor started 67 games last season, more than any other Texas catcher. He set several personal-bests as a hitter and excelled handling pitchers.
“We appreciated the qualities that Matt brought to our club in 2010, both on the field and the presence he had in our clubhouse,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in a statement. “He stepped into a challenging situation and helped lead the club. We’re happy to have him back to solidify our catching situation.”
When Treanor was behind the plate, the Rangers had a 3.92 ERA, fourth-lowest in the AL among catchers with at least 80 games. He threw out 11 of 55 would-be base stealers and his .994 fielding percentage was third-best among AL catchers with at least 500 chances.
Daniels wasn’t on the conference call with Treanor on Monday, when the Rangers were still waiting for free agent Cliff Lee to say where he will play next season. Treanor said he hadn’t spoken to the ace left-hander recently.
“I’d want Cliff to come back for sure. That’s a decision that he’s going to have to make, and I’m sure whatever decision he makes is going to be the right one,” Treanor said. “I’m excited to see what happens as well.”
To clear room on the roster for Treanor, the Rangers sent right-handed pitcher Ryan Tucker outright to Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. He will be a non-roster invitee to major league spring training.
Texas acquired Treanor in March from Milwaukee. He hit .211 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 82 games. He established career highs in games, runs (22), homers, and RBI. He also went 2-for-10 with one home run and two RBIs over four games in the postseason.
Treanor ended the season splitting time behind the plate with Bengie Molina, who the Rangers had acquired in July.
“I’ll be ready to play whenever,” Treanor said. “I’ve been in that backup role before. It’s not like you just sit on the bench and catch the bullpens. … You actively participate in what’s going on in the game.”
Treanor has played in 360 major league games for Florida (2004-08), Detroit (2009) and Texas. He played only four games with the Tigers after a hip injury early in the 2009 season. He is married to Olympic volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor.
The Rangers began 2010 with catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Both young players were optioned to the minors less than a month into the season, and Saltalamacchia was later traded to Boston.
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