FORT WORTH, Texas—The Texas Rangers filled one of their biggest offseason needs, finally signing Yorvit Torrealba to be their starting catcher.
"I'm real excited about it. I was looking for a team that can compete," he said Monday after agreeing to a $6.25 million, two-year contract with the AL champions.
Texas also agreed Monday to a $1.2 million, one-year contract with right-hander Mark Lowe, the reliever acquired from Seattle with Cliff Lee in July.
Torrealba hit .271 with seven homers and 37 RBI in 95 games with San Diego last season. He started 89 games, and the Padres were 53-36 in those games with a 3.14 ERA, the lowest to a catcher in the majors since the Los Angeles Dodgers had a 2.73 ERA with Paul Lo Duca behind the plate in 2003.
Torrealba has played in 669 major league games with San Francisco (2001-05), Seattle (2005), Colorado (2006-09), and San Diego (2010). The only time he has appeared in more games than last season was 113 in 2007, when he helped the Colorado Rockies reach the World Series.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the team expects its starting catcher to play in 95-110 games, considering the rigors of the Texas summer heat. Torrealba doesn't anticipate difficulty.
"Obviously the weather is different than where I played before," the catcher said. "I really believe so. I should be able to do it."
Texas finished last season with Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor splitting time behind the plate.
The Rangers began 2010 with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Both young catchers were optioned to the minors less than a month into the season, and Saltalamacchia has since been traded.
Molina was acquired in July after San Francisco promoted Buster Posey, who went on to become the NL Rookie of the Year. Molina, who played 61 regular-season games for the Giants before 57 in Texas, still gets a championship ring after San Francisco beat the Rangers in the World Series.
Molina has hinted at retirement, though general manager Jon Daniels said last week there are indications that the catcher would like to play another season.
Levine said the Rangers were interested in having Treanor return next season. While Treanor hit only .211 in 82 games, he was a steady influence working with pitchers and in the clubhouse.
Lowe, who was eligible for salary arbitration but still under control of the Rangers, made only three appearances the last week of the regular season before pitching twice in the World Series. He gave four hits and five runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Giants.
Lowe had a 3.48 ERA in 11 appearances for Seattle before being placed on the DL in May with lower back inflammation.