Yankees sign veteran catcher Moeller

Yankees sign catcher Moeller

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Chad Moeller unpacked his equipment bag on Monday, a red Nationals T-shirt and a blue Dodgers shaving bag also found their way into a fresh Legends Field locker.

The colors, clashing wildly with the midnight blue of his newly-issued Yankees gear, served as carry-on luggage for a journeyman catcher latching on with a new organization.

Released by the Nationals on Sunday, Moeller signed a Minor League deal with New York on Monday with an invitation to big league camp. The Yankees are the 33-year-old's seventh organization.

"We need some depth at catching," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the one thing that we talked about, trying to get some more depth. He provides that -- he's played plenty in the big leagues."

The Yankees' catching situation is cemented at the big league level, with veteran Jose Molina backing up starter Jorge Posada. But Moeller said that he has been told a starting job awaits at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"They told me to come in and be ready to play this spring," Moeller said. "Catching is already set here, but it's an opportunity to go and play at Triple-A and be on the field. That's pretty much all you're asking for.

"I used to make fun of Mike Morgan, and now I'm chasing him," said Moeller of the pitcher who played for a record 12 Major League teams.

Moeller appeared in 37 games at the big league level last season, hitting .161 with one home run and two RBIs for the Reds and Dodgers. A .224 career hitter, he appeared in seven games with the Nationals this spring, going hitless in 11 at-bats before being released on Sunday.

"I knew it was going to be somewhere else than when I started this year, and I'm grateful that it's here," Moeller said. "It's another new team."

The Yankees had an immediate void to fill in their spring catching rotation after 22-year-old prospect Francisco Cervelli broke his right wrist in a violent home-plate collision on Saturday.

Moeller said that he had not followed coverage of the Cervelli collision, and declined to weigh in regarding the controversy of hitting a catcher hard during Spring Training play.

"No catchers enjoy that, but it's part of it," Moeller said. "I've been hurt that way before."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.