Cardinals sign Fryer, Schafer and Lino to Minor League contracts

Deals include Spring Training invites; MLB veteran Schafer to be two-way player; Fryer returns

The St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of Jordan Schafer, Eric Fryer and Gabriel Lino, three free agents, to Minor League contracts with an invitation to Spring Training.

Fryer, 31, played in a career-high 60 games last season between St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The veteran catcher originally signed with the Cardinals as a Minor League free agent in November 2015, before the Pirates selected him off waivers in July.

The right-handed hitting Fryer batted .267 with a career-high 13 RBIs during the season. During his 24 games with the Cardinals, Fryer batted .368 (14-38), posting a .415 on-base percentage, while throwing out four of six attempted base stealers. He batted .218 with eight RBI over 36 games as a member of the Pirates.

Schafer, 30, will be listed as a left-handed pitcher with the ability to play the outfield where he logged 5.024 years of Major League service time. During the 2016 season, Schafer pitched 49.1 innings between three levels in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He was 1-1 with a 3.83 ERA in 40 appearances with 59 strikeouts, compiling a 10.76 strikeouts/9 IP at the Dodgers Arizona Summer League affiliate, Tulsa (AA) and Oklahoma City (AAA). Of his 49.1 innings pitched, 40 were thrown in Double-A and 6.1 in Triple-A.

Schafer appeared in 463 Major League games in the outfield with Braves, Astros and Twins from 2009-15, batting .228 with 12 home runs, 85 RBIs and 103 career stolen bases.

Lino, 23, a 6-foot-3, 200 lb., catcher out of Maracay, Venezuela, has played in 464 career Minor League games from 2010-16 with the Phillies and Orioles organizations. The right-handed hitting backstop most recently played in 58 games for Reading (AA) and Clearwater (A) with the Phillies organization in 2016. He has a career batting average of .230 with 26 home runs and 172 RBI, while throwing out 33 percent of 457 attempted base stealers. Originally signed as a 16-year-old non-drafted free agent by the Orioles in 2009, he was traded to the Phillies along with Kyle Simon for Jim Thome in 2012.

Schafer, Fryer and Lino join OF Todd Cunningham, RHP Kendry Flores, OF Chad Huffman, LHP Zach Phillips and SS Wilfredo Tovar as Cardinals off-season Minor League free agent signings and an invitation to Major League Spring Training. The team also re-signed free agent RHP Josh Lucas, C Alberto Rosario, RHP Robby Rowland.

The Cardinals also signed LHP Daniel Schlereth and INF Dickie Joe Thon to Minor League contracts and will report to Minor League camp for Spring Training. Schlereth, a former first round Draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, appeared in 94 Major League games for the Diamondbacks and Tigers from 2009-12. Thon is the son of former 15-year Major League veteran infielder Dickie Thon.