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Indians Sign Backup Catcher Einar Diaz

December 23, 2005

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Catcher Einar Diaz returned to the Cleveland Indians on Friday, agreeing to a minor league contract with the club he spent seven seasons with before being traded in 2002.

Diaz will compete in spring training with Josh Bard for the backup job behind Victor Martinez. Diaz would get a $625,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster.

The 33-year-old Diaz, who was St. Louis’ backup catcher last season, previously started for Cleveland. He had his best season in 2001, batting .277 with four homers and 56 RBIs in 134 games.

The Indians dealt Diaz and right-hander Ryan Drese to Texas for designated hitter Travis Hafner following the ’02 season.

Diaz hit .208 with one homer and 17 RBIs in 58 games _ 30 starts _ for the Cardinals last season.

He is the latest former Indians player to re-sign with the club, which this week brought back relievers Danny Graves and Steve Karsay with minor league deals. Both right-handers, who previously pitched for Cleveland, have had injury problems in recent years.

The Indians need to replace setup man Bob Howry, who recently signed with the Chicago Cubs.

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