OAKLAND -- The A's signed former Anchorage Buc, catcher Chris Gimenez, a Gilroy native, from the Tampa Bay Rays on waivers.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Gimenez, Oakland released left-handed pitcher Pedro Figueroa.
The veteran played in 140 games in 2008 and in 157 in 2010 for Oakland but hasn't played more than 67 games in a season since. And his 2014 status is up in the air with Brandon Moss, who hit 30 homers in 2013, also a left-handed hitting first baseman. It's possible that one of them will get a substantial number of his at-bats as the designated hitter.
With 36 games played at first base this season, the 28-year-old Barton has now played 504 games at first base for the A's, which is third-most in club history.
Gimenez, a Northern California native, seems ecstatic to be heading to the A's.
Talking with the Tampa Bay Times' Mark Tomkin, Gimenez said it is ``a childhood dream, an absolutely awesome Christmas present'' to learn he'll get the chance to play baseball in Oakland where he's ``excited to wear the white cleats.''
The right-handed Gimenez, who can play first base and left field when needed, is a veteran of three big league organizations — Cleveland, Seattle and Tampa Bay. He spent most of 2013 in Triple-A with the Rays' Durham club, hitting .224 with three homers and 22 RBIs, but walked enough to have a .350 on-base percentage.
That got him a late-season callup to Tampa Bay, where he got in four games and hit .333. He is a .199 career big league hitter in 143 games. A good defensive catcher, Gimenez has thrown out 25.6 percent of attempted base stealers in the big leagues.
The A's are loaded with catchers even after letting Kurt Suzuki go to free agency this winter. So it's likely that Gimenez will be headed to Triple-A again if he can't supplant one of the three catchers the A's are bringing back from last year — John Jaso, Derek Norris and Stephen Vogt in spring training.
Figueroa spent most of the season at Sacramento, going 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA. He's had stints with the A's in the last two season, putting up a 4.38 ERA in 24 games.