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Cubs, catcher Dioner Navarro agree to terms on one-year contract

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The Chicago Cubs and catcher Dioner Navarro have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Navarro, 28, has spent all or part of the last nine seasons in the big leagues with the New York Yankees (2004), Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-06, 2011), Tampa Bay Rays (2006-10) and Cincinnati Reds (2012).  In 2012, he split the season between Cincinnati and its Triple-A Louisville affiliate, batting .290 (20-for-69) with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, 12 RBI and a .755 OPS in 24 games at the big league level. 

The switch-hitter batted .327 (16-for-49) vs. major league right-handed pitching last season, while in his big league career he has averaged one extra-base hit per 11.3 at bats vs. left-handed pitching.

Navarro was a 2008 American League All-Star with Tampa Bay (the club’s first-ever All-Star catcher) when he led the pennant winners with a .295 batting average, placing second in the majors among catchers to only Minnesota’s Joe Mauer.  At 24 years old, Navarro was the youngest starting catcher on an A.L. pennant winner since Baltimore’s Andy Etchebarren (23) in 1966.  Navarro in 2008 also set career highs with 120 games, 27 doubles and 54 RBI, while his seven home runs were two shy of his 2007 career best (nine).

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Navarro has thrown out 25.7 percent of baserunners looking to steal in his career (112-for-435), the 11th-best percentage of any catcher in the big leagues starting in 2004 (minimum 500 games).

Navarro began the 2012 season with Triple-A Louisville and batted .319 (66-for-207) with 12 doubles, five homers, 32 RBI and an .832 OPS, earning International League All-Star honors.  He had his contract selected by Cincinnati on August 1.

In 626 big league games, Navarro is a .245 hitter (493-for-2,011) with 93 doubles, 41 home runs and 209 RBI.  A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Navarro originally signed with the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on August 21, 2000.

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