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White Sox sign two catchers; hire new third-base coach

December 10, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ Charlie O’Brien and Chad Kreuter signed with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, filling a catching void created by the departure of Ron Karkovice and Jorge Fabregas.

Charlie O’Brien agreed to a $1.4 million, two-year contract and Chad Krueter, traded from the White Sox to Anaheim last season, agreed to a $635,000, one-year deal.

``O’Brien and Kreuter are two veteran catchers who both have the ability to handle young pitching staffs,″ general manager Ron Schueler said. ``They bring a solid presence to the clubhouse, and we feel they’ll be a good fit with our team.″

Krueter, 33, played 46 games for the White Sox in 1996 before a broken left shoulder ended his season. He played in 19 games for Chicago in 1997, then was traded with outfielder Tony Phillips to Anaheim for Fabregas and reliever Chuck McElroy on May 18. He wound up hitting .231 in 89 games.

O’Brien, 36, will earn $700,000 per year. He spent the past two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, serving last season as primary catcher for Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.

The White Sox designated pitchers Al Levine and Larry Thomas for assignment in the minors to make way for Kreuter and O’Brien on the team’s 40-man roster.

In addition to his base salary, Kreuter can make $125,000 in performance bonuses, earning the full amount if he appears in 120 games.

The White Sox also hired Wallace Johnson as their new third-base coach. He replaces Doug Rader, who resigned at the end of the season after just one year with the team.

Johnson, 40, was a coach in the Atlanta Braves’ minor league system the past three seasons.

New manager Jerry Manuel will retain hitting coach Ron Jackson, pitching coach Mike Pazik, bench coach Joe Nossek, first-base coach Bryan Little and bullpen coach Art Kusnyer.

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