Chavez signed to Minor League deal

Chavez signed to Minor League deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Yankees signed Raul Chavez to a Minor League contract on Wednesday, setting up a competition with Wil Nieves this spring for the backup catcher's job.

Chavez, who turns 34 in March, appeared in 16 games for the Orioles in 2006, going 5-for-28 (.179) with no RBIs. Since 1996, he has played 169 games in the Majors for the Expos, Mariners, Astros and Orioles, hitting .212 with four home runs and 40 RBIs.

Nieves has played just nine games for the Yankees during the past two Septembers, going 0-for-10. He spent most of 2006 with Triple-A Columbus, hitting .259 with five home runs and 34 RBIs in 88 games.

Nieves, 29, has been in the Yankees' system since the spring of 2005, when New York acquired him from the Angels in exchange for reliever Bret Prinz.

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.