Dodgers add 18-year veteran catcher as backup

The Dodgers signed six-time All-Star catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. to a one-year contract, and although financial terms of Alomar's deal were not disclosed, he is believed to receive a $650,000 base salary -- the same amount the Dodgers paid catcher Paul Bako last season to appear in 13 games before a knee injury ended his season May 26.

Alomar's contract also contains incentives based on games played and far beyond the reach of what club officials have in mind for him.

"Sandy has been a solid catcher in this league for almost two decades and his accomplishments speak for themselves," said General Manager Ned Colletti. "He has tremendous game-calling skills and will serve as a great mentor to our young catching corps." Alomar, 39, has appeared in 1,323 games over 18 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Padres, Indians, White Sox, Rockies and Rangers. He has a .273 lifetime batting average with 111 home runs and 571 runs batted in and was an American League All-Star with Cleveland from 1990-92 and 1996-98.

Last season, his first with the Rangers, Alomar played in 46 games, batting .273 while committing just two errors.

Alomar, an 18-year veteran who is a six-time All-Star and former Gold Glove winner, is in the twilight of his career and will catch one or two games a week for the Dodgers, a role virtually identical to the one he filled with Texas last season.

He took home American League Rookie of the Year honors in 1990 and was the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game in 1997.

Alomar has reached the postseason on five different occasions, including World Series appearances with the Indians in 1995 and 1997. In 12 career games in the Fall Classic, Alomar has a .311 batting average (14-for-45) with two homers and 11 RBI.

The Dodgers might be ready to drop out of the hunt for free-agent third baseman Bill Mueller.

Rumors that the Pittsburgh Pirates increased their offer to the former American League batting champion to three years, may have turned the Dodgers off.

They offered two years because third-base prospect Andy LaRoche is expected to be ready to play every day at the big-league level by 2007 if not sooner.