Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said after trading catcher Erik Kratz to Toronto earlier in the week that the Phillies were looking for an upgrade defensively at the position.

The Phillies believe they improved in that area Thursday after the expected signing of 36-year-old free-agent catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year contract.

Nieves, who played last season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, is expected to be the backup to Carlos Ruiz.

Last season Nieves threw out 5 of 18 baserunners (27.8 percent).

By comparison, Ruiz threw out 21 of 84 runners (25.0 percent). Kratz threw out 9 of 42 (21.4 percent).

Nieves, who hits righthanded, batted .297 with one home run, 22 RBIs, and a .697 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 206 plate appearances last season for the Diamondbacks.

He has been a career backup, and the Phillies are his seventh team. Nieves has played in 10 major-league seasons and has never had more than 249 plate appearances in a season.

The Phillies also announced the signing of righthander Jeff Manship to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training.

A 2007 graduate of Notre Dame, Manship, who will turn 29 next month, was 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA last season for the Colorado Rockies in 11 games (four starts). He also appeared in 28 games for Colorado's triple-A Colorado Springs team, making 17 starts and posting a 4.85 ERA.

Manship, who also pitched in the big leagues for Minnesota, has 52 career appearances, 10 starts, and a 6.42 ERA.