OAKLAND -- The Pirates catching carousel continued to spin Sunday afternoon, as they claimed Eric Fryer off waivers from the Cardinals.
Fryer, 30, was designated for assignment on Tuesday, when the Cardinals activated backup catcher Brayan Pena from the disabled list. St. Louis hoped to keep the journeyman backstop but expected he would be plucked off waivers. Now, Fryer will return to Pittsburgh, where he broke into the Majors five years ago.
To make room for Fryer on their 40-man roster, the Pirates designated reliever Rob Scahill for assignment. Scahill had been pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings over 13 appearances.
The Pirates also need to make room on their active roster for Fryer and will do so after he officially reports to the club.
Pittsburgh could swap Fryer for veteran catcher Erik Kratz or move Chris Stewart to the disabled list. Stewart has been hobbled the last few weeks by a variety of left leg injuries, and he was out of the lineup Sunday afternoon for the second day in a row.
In that scenario, the Pirates -- who purchased Kratz and briefly called up Jacob Stallings from Triple-A last month -- would be without their top three catching options entering the season.
Francisco Cervelli, their front-line option, is on the disabled list and working his way back from hamate bone surgery. Prospect Elias Diaz is also on the shelf, nearing the final stages of his recovery following right elbow surgery.
Fryer, who will wear No. 24, hit .368 in 24 games, including eight starts, with the Cardinals this season. He became the first St. Louis player to ever start a season with six straight hits.
Fryer made his Major League debut with the Pirates in 2011. He hit .267/.353/.267 with no homers or RBIs in 16 games with the Bucs from 2011-12.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.