Cubs claim C Lavarnway, OF Peterson

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs claimed two players off waivers Friday, including former Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway and Oakland Athletics first baseman/outfielder Shane Peterson.

Lavarnway, 27, was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 by the Red Sox while Cubs president Theo Epstein was the general manager in Boston. The right-hander appeared in 9 games for them last season before being designated for assignment in late November and picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lavarnway has appeared in 97 career games compiling a .201 batting average with five home runs.

Lavarnway’s addition may bolster speculation that Cubs catcher Welington Castillo could be on the move before next season begins. The team recently traded for lefty Miguel Montero of the Arizona Diamondbacks, pushing Castillo into a back-up role. Epstein indicated at the winter meetings that teams were calling to inquire about Castillo almost immediately after the Montero trade. Industry sources believe Castillo is worth more to the team on the open market than as the Cubs back-up.

Peterson, 26, hit .308 in Triple-A for Oakland last season after originally being drafted in the second round in 2008 by the St. Louis Cardinals. Peterson has appeared in two career games in the majors.

To make room for both players on the Cubs 40-man roster, the team designated infielder Logan Watkins and pitcher Donn Roach for assignment. Both players may have become expendable when the Cubs picked up infielder Tommy La Stella from the Atlanta Braves earlier this offseason and then signed reliever Jason Motte on Friday.

It’s unclear what the move for Lavarnway means in terms of the Cubs pursuit for more catching. He could be insurance in case the Cubs move Castillo and are unable to sign a more seasoned veteran like David Ross. Sources indicate the Cubs have inquired about the former Red Sox catcher.