One of the position battles that has been mentioned the same degree as the battle for the fourth and fifth spots in the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation is the battle for the backup catcher’s spot. Since the Cubs non-tendered Koyie Hill, there has been little mentioned about who will be the compliment to starting catcher Geovany Soto. There was speculation earlier in the off-season that Theo Epstein would look to Jason Varitek to fill that position on the Cubs, but Varitek has since retired. With Geovany Soto being sidelined for the beginning of camp because of a groin injury, the spotlight has been on the other catcher’s that are taking part in the Major League camp this Spring. The catchers that are in the spotlight have been Steve Clevenger, Welington Castillo, and Jason Jaramillo.
The Cubs signed Jaramillo earlier this off-season, and the belief was that he would compete with Castillo and Clevenger for the role of being the backup catcher to Soto on the Major League roster. Jaramillo battled with injuries in 2o11 as the catcher only appeared in 23 games last season but did have a line of .326/.356/.395/.751 in 43 at bats for the Pirates last season. It would appear that injuries are once again playing apart in the future of Jaramillo’s Major League career. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times reports today via twitter that Jaramillo is dealing with a quad injury and there is no timetable for his return. With that injury, Jaramillo is losing playing time while Castillo and Clevenger continue to battle for a spot on the 25 man roster. At this point, there appears to be no separation between Clevenger and Castillo but the consensus is that Clevenger holds the edge in the competition.
Jaramillo was already facing an uphill battle as he came into camp as non-roster invitee while both Clevenger and Castillo are on the 40 man roster. But now with an injury and not return date in sight, it would seem all but certain that Jaramillo will not be the backup to Soto this season.