Nationals ink catcher Hill to minor league deal

In an effort to bolster their once deep organizational pool at catcher, the Nationals have signed veteran backstop Koyie Hill to a minor league contract. He will report to Triple-A Syracuse.

The 33-year-old Hill became a free agent Monday when he refused an outright assignment by the Cubs to Triple-A Iowa. The Nationals are thin in healthy backstops with Wilson Ramos (season-ending knee surgery), Sandy Leon (ankle sprain) and Carlos Maldonado (back) all on the disabled list. Jesus Flores has been handling the bulk of the duties behind the plate, and the Nats have been forced to use rookie Jhonatan Solano as his backup.

Hill was hitting .179 with one RBI in 11 games for the Cubs, who have battled injury issues behind the plate, too. Hill signed as a free agent with the Reds over the winter, batting .195 with a homer and five RBIs in 14 games for Double-A Pensacola (which is managed by former Nats skipper Jim Riggleman) before the Cubs purchased his contract May 19.

In nine years with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs, Hill is a career .210 hitter with eight homers and 76 RBIs.

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