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11/04/08 1:32 PM EST

Dodgers decline Bennett's option

Catcher bought out for $50,000, becomes free agent

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers declined the 2009 option for backup catcher Gary Bennett, paying a $50,000 buyout instead of exercising a $900,000 option.

Bennett becomes the Dodgers' 11th free agent, joining Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Joe Beimel, Nomar Garciaparra, Chan Ho Park, Mark Sweeney and Jason Johnson.

Jeff Kent and Pablo Ozuna are the remaining Dodgers eligible to file for free agency, and the club also must decide this week whether to exercise the $9.25 million option on pitcher Brad Penny or buy out his contract for $2 million.

Bennett had a rough season, spending the last 4 1/2 months on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis of his left foot, along with a problem throwing back to the mound.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.