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12/21/11 3:00 PM EST

Rangers acquire Martinez for catching depth

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have acquired catcher Luis Martinez from the Padres for Minor League pitcher Ryan Kelly. Martinez, who appeared in 22 games for the Padres this past season, has been placed on the 40-man roster.

He gives the Rangers some catching depth behind Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba after they traded Taylor Teagarden to the Orioles in November.

Martinez, 26, a right-handed hitter who was designated for assignment, is described by Rangers scouts as being a good defensive catcher with a plus arm and good makeup. He had three separate stints with the Padres in 2011 and hit .203 (12-for-59) with one home run and 10 RBIs. He hit a home run for his first Major League at-bat on July 27 against the Diamondbacks.

Martinez spent most of the season at Triple-A Tucson, hitting .323 with one homer and 28 RBIs in 58 games. The Padres originally drafted him in the 12th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Cumberland University. He has a career .272 batting average in 397 Minor League games with a .364 on-base percentage and a .360 slugging percentage.

Kelly went 3-6 with a 3.95 ERA and nine saves in 40 appearances for Class A Myrtle Beach after being acquired from the Athletics for pitcher Guillermo Moscoso. The Rangers now have 37 players on their Major League roster.

The Rangers also signed veteran infielder Matt Kata to a Minor League contract. Kata, 33, spent the 2011 season with Triple-A Round Rock, batting .293 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs over 106 games while playing primarily second base and left field. 

Kershaw, Howard to be honored

National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers and former Major League slugger Frank Howard will be among the honorees at the 2012 Texas Rangers Dr. Pepper Awards Show. The event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Arlington Convention Center. Tickets for the event are now on sale.

Kershaw will receive the 2011 Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year Award for the second time in the last three years. The Dallas native who starred at Highland Park High School captured the National League's pitching triple crown in 2011, leading the league with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts and tying for first with 21 victories.

Howard is the recipient of the 2012 Mark Holtz Alumni Award. The right-handed power hitter established all of the expansion Washington Senators career offensive records in his tenure with the team from 1965-71, including 237 homers and 670 RBIs. He hit 40-plus homers and drove in 100-plus runs in three straight seasons from 1968-70 with career bests of 48 homers in 1969 and 126 RBIs in 1970.

Howard hit the first home run ever in a Major League game at Arlington Stadium on April 21, 1972, vs. California. He had 382 homers and 1,119 RBIs in 1,895 career games with the Dodgers, Senators, Rangers, and Tigers.

Tickets are priced at $75 each for reserved seating and $50 for general admission.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.