Royals claim A’s catcher Kottaras on waivers

The Royals bolstered their catching ranks Friday by claiming George Kottaras on waivers from the Oakland A’s.

At spring training last season, Salvador Perez and Manny Pina both went down with injuries and the Royals eventually traded for Humberto Quintero. He appeared in 43 games before being released in July, shortly after Perez returned.

The Royals currently have three catchers on the 40-man roster: Perez, Kottaras and Brett Hayes, who was claimed off waivers from Miami in November.

“You’re always looking to add depth, especially this time of year,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “We’ve always liked George in the past and feel like he’s potentially a very good complement to the group we have now. He’s always been a really good on-base guy and a left-hand hitter.”

In 85 games with the Brewers and A’s last season, Kottaras had a .351 on-base percentage with 37 walks. Acquired by the A’s on July 29, he hit six homers for Oakland in 27 games.

Over a five-year career, Kottaras hit .220 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs with the Red Sox (2008-09), Brewers (2010-12) and A’s (2012).

The Royals will have seven catchers in camp this year: Perez, Kottaras, Hayes, Pina, Adam Moore, Max Ramirez and Julio Rodriguez.

Moore said it was too early to say how many catchers the Royals would have on the 25-man roster when the season begins April 1.

“I don’t know if we’ll go with two or three,” Moore said. “It’s a very long year, and you want to have as much quality depth as possible. We certainly feel George’s talent blends in with what we have in a way that makes us potentially better.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated infielder Tony Abreu for assignment. In 22 games with the Royals last year, Abreu hit .257 after spending most of the year at Class AAA Omaha.