Pirates sign minor-league catcher Diaz

Mets also interested in Suppan

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Pirates Q&A with Dejan Kovacevic

The Pirates yesterday signed catcher Einar Diaz to a minor-league contract.

Diaz, 33, played three games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and has 673 career games in Major League Baseball, including stints with the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and St. Louis Cardinals. With Class AAA Buffalo and Las Vegas last season, he batted .225 with three home runs and 31 RBIs.

He would be paid a $600,000 salary at the major-league level, plus up to $225,000 in performance bonuses.

The Pirates have three catchers on their 40-man roster: Ronny Paulino , Ryan Doumit and Humberto Cota , along with another, Carlos Maldonado , signed to play for Class AAA Indianapolis.

Also yesterday, it became known that the third party thought to be most interested in free-agent starter Jeff Suppan -- the Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers are the others -- is the New York Mets.

Suppan's agent, Scott Leventhal , spoke with New York officials yesterday morning, shortly after the Mets met face-to-face with representatives for Barry Zito , the most prominent pitcher left on the open market. Suppan appears to be the Mets' fallback plan if they fail to sign Zito.

Second baseman Craig Stansberry , designated for assignment by the Pirates on Tuesday, was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres and added to their 40-man roster. Stansberry, 24, batted .243 with Indianapolis and Class AA Altoona last season.

Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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