Huckaby Back With L.A.; Travis Smith Signed

After wanderings that rival anything Ulysses ever did, Ken Huckaby has come back to where it all started as the catcher has signed a minor free agent contract with the Dodgers that includes an invitation to spring training as a non-roster invitee. The club also has signed veteran righthander Travis Smith in the same sort of deal.

Huckaby first joined the Dodgers in 1991 as a 22nd round draft pick out of San Joaquin Delta Junior College in California. He spent seven years in the system and was called up to the big club twice in 1996 and 97 but spent his time in the bullpen, never getting into a game. He then became a baseball gypsy, traveling through seven other systems, some of them more than once.

He was a backup catcher in the big leagues with the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rangers. This past season, he was with the Red Sox for eight games , batting just .200. He spent most of the year with Pawtucket, hitting .219. Now 35, he's become the quintessential reserve catcher, something the Dodgers find themselves in need of with Einar Diaz, Edwin Bellorin and Brad Cresse all filing for free agency.

Smith is well-traveled as well. He's 34 and has been in the big leagues with the Brewers, Cards and Marlins before making one emergency start for the Braves this past season. Over that time, he's compiled a 6-6 record with a 6.56 ERA. In 2006 he pitched mostly in Triple A, doing very well at Richmond for the Braves with a 3-1, 0.91 record , then , not so well when traded to the Cardinals, going 5-6, 5.66 at Memphis.

He's anything but a flamethrower but knows how to pitch with good command of the strike zone.

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