Valaika adding catching to defensive repertoire

Valaika adding catching to defensive repertoire

CHICAGO -- Though Travis Wood bought a child-size Radio Flyer wagon to help utility man Chris Valaika carry all of his gloves, Valaika may need a wheelbarrow, as he's decided to add catching to his defensive repertoire.

When Valaika was promoted from Triple-A Iowa last week, Cubs coaches asked if he'd ever caught. Valaika has played first, second, third and short, and also some outfield, and takes four gloves to the field with him to prepare.

"The next day I told [coach Mike Borzello], 'If [catching] is something you want me to do, I want to work on it,'" Valaika said on Monday. "If it's something I can help with, or be the emergency guy -- for me personally, it's another feather in my cap. And [Borzello] is one of the best guys to learn from."

The Cubs had named Darwin Barney as their unofficial emergency catcher, and manager Rick Renteria has said that if pressed, he would use Luis Valbuena.

But Valaika was in the bullpen on Monday, working with Borzello.

"I'm into it," Valaika said. "It can give me a chance to stick around, be another resource. I can go out there and catch between innings so [John Baker] and [Welington Castillo] don't have to."

What about the wagon?

"Now I can put some catcher's gear in there," he said. "We're loading it up."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.