Seattle Mariners sign Henry Blanco

USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners have signed veteran catcher Henry Blanco and designated Kelly Shoppach for assignment.

The Mariners swapped veteran backup catchers on Friday, signing Henry Blanco and designating Kelly Shoppach for assignment, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

Mariners skipper Eric Wedge told Baker that the team felt that Blanco could offer them more "in all areas," and that the team had originally had their eye on him during the off-season before he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. Blanco was released by the Blue Jays on June 11. He played in 15 games for the Blue Jays, hitting .184/.262/.263 prior to his release.

This move may have more to do with the team's future than immediate returns on the field. With Jesus Montero recently optioned to the minors, the team called up top catching prospect Mike Zunino on June 12. Baseball America ranked Zurino the 17th best prospect in the game prior to this season, and Baker believes that this move signals that the 22-year-old backstop will be getting an extended look at the major league level. Wedge tells him that, "We felt that for somebody to work alongside Zunino, there probably was nobody better at that position."

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