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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Cubs spring preview: Catchers

By Bruce Levine

Geovany Soto
Geovany Soto hit 17 home runs last season but his average dipped to .228.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, Bruce Levine previews the Cubs roster by position this week.

The Chicago Cubs have three receivers who can catch in the majors this season. Geovany Soto is the incumbent and will be the team's every day catcher.

Geovany Soto: He had another down season with the bat. Soto hit 17 home runs with 26 doubles, but hit just .228. He threw out a National League-high 30 runners, but also was the league leader in errors (13). Soto was almost traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and could be moved this summer if the other catchers step up.

Jason Jaramillo: He can defend and has prior big-league time behind the plate, playing 119 games over the past three seasons with the Pirates. A left-handed hitter, Jaramillo would seem to fill the backup role if the organization's two young catchers are not ready.

Welington Castillo: The 24-year-old has big-time power and can throw with the best of them, but the Cubs are not sure of his pitch-calling ability. Castillo called for a slider from Justin Berg in a 2010 game and Giants outfielder Pat Burrell hit a game-changing home run in San Francisco. After that game the previous front office soured on Castillo. He has the tools but maybe not the tool box.

Steve Clevenger: He caught his first major league game in September. The 25-year-old could push the other two candidates for the backup role behind Soto. Clevenger is known as a good catch-and-throw guy. A. 308 career hitter in six minor league seasons, Clevenger hit .407 in 26 games at Triple-A Iowa after batting .295 in 95 games at Double-A last season.