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01/26/2010 7:00 PM ET
Dodgers sign Brad Ausmus to one-year contract
Three-time Rawlings Gold Glove catcher to return to Los Angeles for his 18th Major League season
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LOS ANGELES -- The National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers today signed catcher Brad Ausmus to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2011. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

"Brad provided us with a very strong presence off the bench last season and his contributions were many, both on and off the field," said Colletti. "We are very glad that he decided to return for another season in Los Angeles and look forward to him filling a similar role this year."

Ausmus spent last season in Los Angeles as Russell Martin's backup and hit .295 with a homer and nine RBI in 36 games. The longtime backstop is a veteran of 1,950 games in 17 seasons and in 2009 batted .303 with a homer and eight RBI in his 27 starts behind the plate. The Dodgers went 16-11 in those starts.

Ausmus finished the year tied with Benito Santiago for eighth in Major League Baseball history with 1,917 games caught. The Connecticut native trails only Ivan Rodriguez in that category among active players.

The Dartmouth University alum is a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, earning the honor for National League catchers while with Houston in 2001, 2002 and 2006. Among active catchers with at least 600 games played, he is tied for fourth with a .994 career fielding percentage behind Mike Redmond (.996), Joe Mauer (.996), and A.J. Pierzynski (.995). Ausmus also ranks second in big league history with 12,671 putouts as a catcher, trailing only Ivan Rodriguez (13,910). He has thrown out 30.6 percent of potential base stealers (387 of 1,264) in 17 Major League seasons.

Ausmus has not been on the disabled list once in his 17-year career, giving him the most consecutive seasons of not going on the DL among all active players.

Ausmus played 10 of his 17 big league seasons with the Astros, including from 2001-08. He was Houston's Opening Day catcher for nine of those seasons, including 2003-08. Ausmus, who makes his off-season home in Del Mar, CA, is Houston's all-time leader for catchers with 1,243 games and 1,119 starts. He had started at least 100 games at catcher for 11 straight seasons until starting 62 behind the plate in 2008.

Including 2009, when he did not appear in any of the Dodgers' eight playoff games, Ausmus has been a part of six postseasons, including one World Series appearance in 2005 with Houston. He was an American League All-Star with Detroit in 1999, when he started 121 games, threw out 32 of 91 potential base stealers (35.2 percent) and established career highs with a .275 batting average, nine home runs, and 54 RBI.

In 1,950 games during his career, Ausmus is batting .252 with 80 homers and 605 RBI with San Diego (1993-96), Detroit (1996, 1999-2000), Houston (1997-98, 2001-08) and Los Angeles (2009).

Ausmus was the recipient of the 2006 Darryl Kile Award presented by the Houston chapter of the BBWAA, which is given annually to the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros player who best exemplifies Kile's traits of "a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man."

In 2009, Ausmus was Joe Torre's acting manager for the regular-season finale Oct. 4 vs. Colorado, a game in which the Dodgers won, 5-3.

Ausmus was originally selected by the Yankees in the 48th round of the 1987 First-Year Player Draft.

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