Padres sign Nieves to Minors deal with invite to spring camp

Veteran catcher drafted by San Diego in 1995

Padres sign Nieves to Minors deal with invite to spring camp

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have signed veteran catcher Wil Nieves to a Minor League deal, reuniting him with the organization that drafted him in 1995.

Nieves, 37, will be a part of big league camp in Spring Training and could contend for a backup job to Derek Norris, who will be the Padres' starting catcher.

Tim Federowicz, obtained in the Matt Kemp deal with the Dodgers in December, is a candidate to win a spot on the roster as the backup catcher.

Nieves, who has played with seven teams over an 11-year Major League career, spent last season with the Phillies and hit .254 while appearing in 36 games.

Nieves, a native of Puerto Rico, is a career .243/.281/.317 hitter. His older brother, Melvin, played parts of three seasons for the Padres as an outfielder from 1993-95.

Wil Nieves was drafted in the 47th round in 1995 and, under the old draft-and-follow rules, didn't sign until the following May.

He arrived to the big leagues on July 21, 2002, in a game against the D-backs at Qualcomm Stadium and had one hit in three at-bats, a single off Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson. Nieves also caught rookie Jake Peavy, who was making his fifth career start.

Nieves proved valuable to the D-backs in 2013, filling in for an injured Miguel Montero and hitting .297 in 195 at-bats.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.