By Jason Shetler
The Pirates have announced that Erik Kratz has cleared waivers, but has decided to become a free agent after declining an outright assignment to AAA Indianapolis.
Kratz began this season as a reserve catcher for the Houston Astros. The 36-year-old backstop was released by them on May 22nd. A couple weeks later, he signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and reported to AAA Salt Lake.
The Pirates acquired Kratz from the Angels in a cash deal on June 11th, the same day that Francisco Cervelli was placed on the disabled list following hamate surgery. Kratz played 18 games and batted just .107. Behind the plate, he threw out 44% of baserunners. The Pirates designated Kratz for assignment on Tuesday when Cervelli returned from the DL.