Indians invite Martinez, Kratz to Spring Training

Indians invite Martinez, Kratz to Spring Training

CLEVELAND -- For the past two years, Michael Martinez has provided the Indians with insurance and depth as a sound defensive option around the diamond. Cleveland has opted to bring the versatile utility man back for another season.

On Thursday, the Indians signed both Martinez and catcher Erik Kratz to Minor League contracts that include invitations to attend Spring Training with the Major League club. That brings Cleveland's non-roster invitees list up to four, including catcher Guillermo Quiroz and outfielder Daniel Robertson.

The Tribe's pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 12, with the position players slated to follow on Feb. 16.

Martinez, 34, appeared in 59 games with the Indians last season, hitting .242 as a part-time player off the bench. He hit .288 in 27 games at Triple-A Columbus and also had a four-game stint with the Red Sox in July. With Cleveland, the switch-hitter offered depth for second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots. Martinez served as a super utility man in the postseason, but was outrighted off the 40-man roster by the Indians on Nov. 23.

The 36-year-old Kratz has spent parts of seven Major League seasons with five teams. Last year, the catcher went to Spring Training with the Padres, but then had tours with the Astros, Angels, Pirates and Blue Jays during the regular season. Kratz hit .094 (8-for-85) in 33 big league games with Houston and Pittsburgh and had a .186 (18-for-97) average in 31 Triple-A games between stints with Los Angeles and Toronto. Kratz has caught would-be basestealers at a rate of 32 percent over his 15 professional seasons.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.