On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced they have signed six-year minor league free agent Ruben Gotay to a one-year contract. The switch-hitting infielder will be a non-roster invitee to Major League camp in the spring.
The 26-year-old spent all season with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno club, where he hit .272 with 29 doubles, 11 home runs, 57 RBI and walked 102 times over 118 games. He played both second and third base for Reno.
Gotay has over two years of Major League time with Kansas City, New York Mets and Atlanta, where he was often deployed as a late-inning defensive replacement.
He has a lifetime Major League line of .255/.315/.371 in 726 at-bats over 316 games. Though he switch hits, Gotay's career OPS vs. left-handers is over 150 points worse than against righties (.558 vs. .719).
Gotay was the Royals’ 31st-round selection in the 2000 draft, but did not sign until the following May. He first reached the majors in 2004 and in 2006 was dealt to the Mets for Jeff Keppinger. The Braves selected Gotay off waivers at the end of spring training 2008 and he became a free agent last winter.
The native of Puerto Rico signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh at the start of 2009 spring training. Gotay appeared in just one MLB spring game with the Bucs before an April 1 trade to Arizona in return for future considerations.
With the Cardinals, Gotay may be expected to serve in the veteran reserve infielder role at Triple-A Memphis played in the recent past by such players as Junior Spivey (2006) and D’Angelo Jimenez (2008). Now-free agent Joe Thurston looked to be that player in 2009, but made the major league roster and stuck all season.
According to the Cardinals, Gotay is reported to be the nephew of former Cardinals infielder Julio Gotay, who played for St. Louis from 1960-1962 and saw some time in the majors through 1969.
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