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Friday, January 22, 2010
Catcher Hall healthy after missing '09

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

The Texas Rangers announced Friday that they have signed catcher Toby Hall to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Hall, 34, gives the Rangers depth at catcher should Jarrod Saltalamacchia experience any other setbacks in his return from shoulder surgery.

Hall missed all of the 2009 season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He had signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros on Jan. 21, 2009, but the deal was voided during spring training when Hall and Houston officials agreed he had a pre-existing injury that required surgery. He is expected to be healthy and ready to participate in all of spring training.

Rangers pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Surprise, Ariz., on Feb. 18.

Hall, who has a career .262 average with 46 homers and 269 RBIs in 686 games, has played with Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. He was drafted in the ninth round by Tampa Bay in 1997. He has thrown out 28 percent of runners attempting to steal bases, the fourth-highest mark among American League catchers with at least 600 games last decade. Hall had just 127 at-bats in 2008, hitting .301, and 116 at-bats in 2007 with a .225 average.

The Rangers now have 14 non-roster invitees for major league spring training. Among them are right-hander Tanner Scheppers, left-hander Kasey Kiker and infielders Matt Brown, Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland.

Also, right-hander Elizardo Ramirez, who spent 2009 in Oklahoma City and went 9-11 with a 4.63 ERA, has signed a Triple-A contract that does not include an invitation to big league camp.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.