Cubs GM Jed Hoyer explains carrying three catchers

ST. LOUIS -- If you’re still wondering why the Chicago Cubs are carrying three catchers, general manager Jed Hoyer has shed light on the strategy.

“That spot will be fluid for much of the year,” Hoyer explained Monday afternoon. “Right now, we felt like going with three catchers was the right thing. Miggy [Miguel Montero] was still working his way back.”

Montero was recently on the 15-day disabled list with a bad back, while David Ross is 39 years old and the Cubs don’t want to overuse him. So, Tim Federowicz was kept around at the expense of pitcher Neil Ramirez, who was designated for assignment over the weekend.

“We may not do that forever, but I do think it’s important to have that spot flexible,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer was referencing the 25th man on the roster, which might rotate between a position player and a pitcher. The Cubs reduced their pitching staff to 12 for the first time this season to accommodate outfielder Matt Szczur’s return from the disabled list. The need arose when Jason Heyward injured himself on Friday. Additionally, the Cubs have begun playing closer games, and manager Joe Maddon has been running out of players. So for now, it’s 12 pitchers and 13 position players.

“We’ll probably float back and forth throughout the year,” Hoyer said. “Right now, the right thing for us is three catchers. We’ll keep re-evaluating it.”

As for Federowicz, the Cubs find value in a veteran catcher who pitchers trust.

“He’s a major league catcher, for sure,” Hoyer said. “We’re fortunate for that.”