Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins could feel Dioner Navarro's enthusiasm when he spoke to the catcher after acquiring him from the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
"He was excited," Atkins said. "I could see the smile through the phone."
The move, announced before the Blue Jays game against the Minnesota Twins at Rogers Centre, brings Navarro back to Toronto's clubhouse after less than a year's absence. Chicago gets left-handed minor league pitcher Colton Turner in exchange.
The 32-year-old Navarro spent two years with the Blue Jays and recorded a .267 average with 17 home runs and 89 runs-batted in 193 games before signing as a free agent with the White Sox in the off-season.
While the Venezuelan is batting just .210 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 85 games this season, Atkins said the team's familiarity with Navarro is part of the reason he was eager to bring him back as Toronto continues its push for a second straight post-season berth.
"The added experience and time that he has with this team was a benefit. He'll fit right in with the clubhouse," Atkins said. "When we made the (coaching) staff aware that he would be joining us they were extremely excited about not just what he means as a catcher but just an overall teammate."
"This should be a boost of energy for him coming into a contender," he added.
Navarro doesn't have to report to the Blue Jays until Monday. Josh Thole, currently Toronto's back-up catcher, will catch Sunday with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the mound.
The 41-year-old Dickey, who uses Thole as his personal catcher because of his unique pitch, has struggled this season, going 9-13 with a 4.43 earned-run average through 26 starts. He's also allowed 27 home runs, fourth most in the American League.
Thole is batting .151 with one homer and seven RBIs through 44 games.
Atkins dismissed the notion that acquiring Navarro puts Dickey's future on a potential post-season roster in jeopardy.
"It's just about depth and adding another resource, someone we feel is a winning player to the team," Atkins said.
Turner is 3-1 with a 1.33 earned-run average in 44 relief appearances this year between three minor league levels, including double-A New Hampshire. The 25-year-old was selected by Toronto in the 21st round of the 2012 draft and is 12-9 with a 2.76 ERA in 106 games over four seasons in the Blue Jays system.
Toronto entered the opener of its three-game series with the Twins in a tie for first place in the American League East division with the Boston Red Sox.