Braves sign John Buck to a minor league deal

The Braves have added another new face to the spring training roster.

With young Christian Bethancourt ready to take over as the starting catcher, the Braves were looking for one more veteran catcher to bring to camp with newly signed backup A.J. Pierzynski.

John Buck will be that extra catcher, as the veteran signed a minor league contract Monday with an invitation to big league camp.

Buck has been in the big leagues for 11 season, playing for the Royals, Blue Jays, Marlins, Mets, Pirates, Mariners and Angels.

Last season, Buck split the season between the Mariners and the Angels. He hit a combined .225 in only 97 plate appearances with one home run and six RBI.

Just two seasons ago Buck was the starting catcher for the Mets. He hit .215 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI in 407 plate appearances.

The Braves needed another catcher after Eli Whiteside retired and became a coach on the major league staff for the San Francisco Giants. Whiteside had signed a minor league deal with the Braves and was expected to be the starting catcher at Gwinnett.

The Braves have not ruled out the possibility of having three catchers on the Atlanta roster. The hope is that Bethancourt will be ready for full-time duty with Pierzynski backing him up. Buck will be insurance in case Bethancourt is not ready and needs more time in Triple-A.

If Buck does not make the big league roster, he might be in Triple-A. Jose Yepez and Braeden Schlehuber are also expected to compete for playing time in Gwinnett.

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