Mets sign catcher Rene Rivera to minor league deal

Signing Rene Rivera would allow the Mets to send Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A to get more at-bats. Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The New York Mets have signed veteran catcher Rene Rivera to a minor league deal.

Rivera, 32, is known for his defensive prowess. He hit a modest .178 with five homers and 26 RBIs in 298 at-bats with the Tampa Bay Rays last season.

Rivera, who has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors, was released by the Rays in late March.

The Mets had been searching throughout spring training for a veteran backup catcher, which would allow Kevin Plawecki to be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas to get at-bats. For now, Rivera is expected to head to Vegas. But at some point in the first half, the Mets may send Plawecki to the Pacific Coast League and use Rivera as the backup to Travis d'Arnaud.

Rivera played in 68 games for the Mets in Triple-A when the organization was affiliated with Buffalo in 2009.