Yankees Call-Up Moeller and Sign Natale

Here are a couple of quick items this afternoon. According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees have called up veteran catcher Chad Moeller from Triple-A Scranton to replace Jorge Posada who could miss up to a month with a broken foot. To make room for him on the 40-man roster the Yankees transferred Nick Johnson to the 60-day DL.

Moeller will serve primarily as the backup to Francisco Cervelli. In 29 at bats in Triple-A this season Moeller is batting .207 with a .233 OBP and a .310 slugging. No he’s not going to beat anybody with his bat, he is just here until Posada returns.

For those of you who don’t remember, Moeller was actually with the Yankees in 2008. Back then both Posada and Jose Molina were dealing with injuries forcing the Yankees to sign the journeyman. He played in 41 games and in 91 at bats he put up a .231 average and a .640 OPS. In 89 at bats with the Orioles last season Moeller had a .751 OPS.

According to Pete Cava of the Pennsylvania Times Leader, the Yankees also signed 27-year-old infielder Jeff Natale. Natale is pure minor league fodder at this point and will report to Scranton.

Originally drafted in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft, Natale has spent his entire pro career in the Red Sox organization. He put up some pretty good numbers too. In five full seasons in the minors Natale has a .297 average, a .431 OBP, a .445 SLG, and a .876 OPS.

I’m not sure why Natale never got a shot in the major leagues, it was most likely due to an injury in 2008, but he isn’t likely to get much of a shot with the Yankees either. They have too many infielders, Kevin Russo, Eduardo Nunez, and David Adams, who would probably get a shot before him. The Yankees likely signed him for depth since they’ve got so many injuries shaking up the roster from the majors on down.

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3 Responses to Yankees Call-Up Moeller and Sign Natale

  1. Ian says:

    This seems to be a good opportunity to see Jesus Montero and get him some swings to see what he can do. Is he just not ready as a catcher, or do they worry he will struggle.

  2. Brian Burkhart says:

    My girlfriend actually went to high school with Natale, so we've seen him play at Double-A Portland before. He is a good and patient hitter with power. Originally came up as a 2nd baseman and if he had the glove to stay there in the big leagues, I think someone would give him a shot. However, he's been playing at first quite a bit, which tells me the glove isn't there. And let's face it: you have to be a hell of a hitter if you want to play first in the majors.

  3. Mike S. says:

    Montero is hitting .232 at AAA SWB right now. The thing is, do you really want him sitting on the bench with the Yankees, playing once a week (and he isn’t ready for the majors yet) or do you want him continuing his development by playing every day? The same goes with Romine. The Yanks want both to continue playing every day and continuing to develop. Hence the Moeller callup.