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Pirates sign minor league catcher

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates have signed catcher Joe Hudson to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Pittsburgh announced the deal on Monday. The 29-year-old Hudson has appeared in 18 major league games for St. Louis, Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels.

Hudson is a career .167 hitter with one RBI in 30 career at-bats. He will be in the mix to compete for the backup job behind Jacob Stallings, a Gold Glove finalist last year.

Hudson was a sixth-round pick by Cincinnati in the 2012 first-year player draft.

Elsewhere:

n The Cactus League has asked Major League Baseball to delay the start of spring training due to coronavirus concerns just over three weeks before pitchers and catchers are supposed to report. The Cactus League made the request in a letter to Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred obtained by The Associated Press on Monday. The letter was co-signed by Arizona community leaders, including the mayors of Mesa, Scottsdale, Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear and Peoria, as well as representatives from Phoenix and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Arizona is averaging just over 7,000 new coronavirus cases per day, but the Cactus League cited data in its letter from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation projecting a sharp decline in infections in Arizona by mid-March, down to as few as 3,072 daily. Despite the roiling case numbers, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes are hosting 3,450 fans for home games in Glendale, and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns are playing without fans. High school sports are also still operating.

n The Yankees made a rare trade with the rival Red Sox, sending struggling reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston on Monday along with minor league right-hander Franklin German for a player to be named or cash. As part of the trade, the Yankees agreed to send Boston $850,000 on July 1 to cover part of the $8 million owed to Ottavino, a 35-year-old right-hander entering the final season of a $27 million, three-year contract. New York remains responsible for Ottavino’s $3 million signing bonus, due next Jan. 15.

A Brooklyn native, Ottavino signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season and took No. 0, the Yankees’ last available single digit. He had a successful first season that included a 6-5 record and 1.90 ERA. But he slumped to a 5.89 ERA during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the highest of his nine full big league seasons German, 22, was 4-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 2019 in 15 starts and one relief appearance for Class A Tampa of the Florida State League. Minor league seasons were canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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