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12/20/2005 8:08 PM ET
Dodgers sign Choi to one-year contract
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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have re-signed first baseman Hee-Seop Choi to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, according to Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.

Choi, 26, will be entering his fifth year in the Major Leagues and third with the Dodgers following a trade with Florida that brought him to Los Angeles on July 30, 2004. In 363 career Major League games, the left-handed hitter has slugged 40 home runs and tallied 120 RBI with a .336 on-base percentage.

Last season, Choi set new career highs in games played (133), RBI (42) and hits (81) while equaling his career best with 15 home runs. He ranked among the Dodger offensive leaders in games (2nd), home runs (T-2nd), hit by pitch (8, T-1st) and total bases (145, T-3rd). Twelve of his 15 homers either tied the game, gave the Dodgers the lead or pulled them within one run of their opponent.

On June 12, 2005 vs. Minnesota, Choi blasted three home runs, marking just the 16th time in franchise history that a Dodger has had a three-homer game. He hit six homers over a three-day span from 12-14, becoming just the 12th player in Major League history to accomplish that feat.

The South Korea native also made just two errors in 762 total chances at first base, tying him with San Francisco's J.T. Snow for the second-highest fielding percentage (.997) among all National League first baseman with 750 or more total chances.

During the All-Star festivities in Detroit, Choi participated in the Century 21 Home Run Derby in which he represented his home country and the Dodgers. He went deep five times during the event, which featured one player from Venezuela, Canada, Curacao, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the United States.

The international home run derby was a prelude to the World Baseball Classic, which will feature 16 teams from around the world competing against one another for the first time during Spring Training, 2006. The South Korea delegation has yet to announce its roster for the event, though Choi is considered a strong candidate to make the team, as he was the first position player from his home country to appear in a Major League game when he made his big league debut for the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 3, 2002.

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