Indians, Shoppach avoid arbitration

CLEVELAND -- One of baseball's longest streaks endures.

The Cleveland Indians agreed to a $1.95 million, one-year contract Monday with catcher Kelly Shoppach, extending their streak of avoiding salary arbitration to 18 years.

The club has not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since doing so with infielder Jerry Browne and pitcher Greg Swindell in 1991. Shoppach was the only player on Cleveland's 40-man roster who was eligible for arbitration.

Shoppach batted .261 with 21 homers, 27 doubles and 55 RBIs in 112 games last season. He took advantage of more playing time after catcher Victor Martinez sustained an elbow injury, leading AL catchers in homers.

Shoppach, who made $400,000 last season, could have a greater role behind the plate this year, with Martinez expected to get more time at first base. He had arthroscopic surgery in September, but has been working out at the Indians' new training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., and is expected to be full go when camp opens next month.

Cleveland acquired Shoppach in 2006 as part of the trade that sent Coco Crisp to the Boston Red Sox.

In other news, infielder Michael Aubrey, a former No. 1 pick whose career has been slowed by injuries, was sent outright to Triple-A Columbus. Aubrey cleared waivers after he was designated for assignment last week when the Indians signed free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano and added the right-hander to their 40-man roster.