VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals claimed veteran catcher Chris Coste off waivers from the Mets this afternoon, a move designed to add some insurance behind the plate at Class AAA Syracuse in case of more injuries at the position.
Coste, 37, is immediately added to the Nationals' 40-man roster and will report to big-league camp. But because he still has a minor-league option, he can be sent down to Syracuse before Opening Day.
With Jesus Flores (shoulder) and Jamie Burke (knee) injured and opening the season on the disabled list, the Nats were left with no viable catching options in case something happened to either Ivan Rodriguez or Wil Nieves. Jhonathan Solano, 22, is expected to be Syracuse's other catcher when the season begins.
Despite his advanced age, Coste has spent only four years in the majors. He debuted with the Phillies in 2006 at age 33 and proceeded to hit .282 with 23 homers and 98 RBI in 256 games over parts of the next four seasons. After getting claimed off waivers by the Astros last summer, he .204 in 43 games.
The Mets signed Coste to a one-year deal over the winter, but he became expendable when New York also signed Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco.