CLEVELAND -- The Indians opted to keep Luke Carlin in the mix behind the plate, signing the catcher to a Minor League contract on Monday. Carlin will attend Spring Training with the Tribe as a non-roster invitee.
Cleveland removed the 29-year-old Carlin from its 40-man roster on Oct. 31, when the team sent him outright to Triple-A Columbus. Retaining Carlin provides the Indians with added depth in case catcher Carlos Santana faces any setbacks in his recovery from left knee surgery.
Santana, who underwent an operation on Aug. 6 to repair the lateral collateral ligament in his knee, is currently on schedule to be in the Tribe's Opening Day lineup. Behind Santana, the lone catcher on Cleveland's 40-man roster is Lou Marson.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said recently that the club could benefit from having another catcher as added insurance.
"We have two very good catchers in Carlos Santana and Lou Marson," Antonetti said. "But we could look certainly to complement that area."
Carlin spent the entire 2010 Minor League season between Triple-A Columbus and Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pirates' system. Overall, he hit .238 with four home runs, 10 doubles and 29 RBIs over 76 games. Carlin -- a switch-hitter -- was acquired from Pittsburgh on Aug. 10 in exchange for a player to be named later.
In six International League playoff games with Columbus, Carlin hit .350 with two home runs, five runs scored and five RBIs. Following a promotion to Cleveland, Carlin hit .357 (5-for-14) with two homers and three RBIs in six games with the Tribe. Indians pitchers also fashioned a 2.68 ERA with Carlin behind the plate.