Popular veteran catcher returning to CLE Guardians

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[Editor’s Note: In the video above Cleveland Guardians’ Andrés Giménez and Steven Kwan received 2023 Gold Glove awards.]

CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP – The Cleveland Guardians are reuniting with Austin Hedges, agreeing with the popular veteran catcher on a $4 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Hedges, who played in Cleveland from 2020-22, will sign the contract once he passes a physical, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be finalized until the medical tests are completed.

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The Guardians made two moves with their catching on Sunday, trading Christian Bethancourt to the Miami Marlins. Cleveland, which claimed Bethancourt off waivers on Nov. 6, will receive cash considerations in the deal.

Although he’s not much of a hitter, Hedges is solid defensively and perhaps most importantly, he’s a clubhouse leader. The Guardians missed his presence last season and especially having him as an influence for younger players.

Hedges finished last season winning a World Series with the Texas Rangers. He got one at-bat against Arizona and struck out.

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He’ll be an asset to new Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt, who like Hedges, was a journeyman catcher.

The 31-year-old Hedges batted .184 (34 for 185) with Pittsburgh and Texas last season. The Rangers acquired him before the trade deadline and he wound up pitching in four games, posting a 4.91 ERA in 3 2/3 innings.

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