Dodgers Sign Catcher Brad Ausmus

The Dodgers, searching for a veteran catcher to backup Russell Martin, signed Veteran Brad Ausmus to a one-year contract worth $1 million. A three-time Gold Glove winner, Ausmus spent the past eight seasons with Houston and batted .218 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 81 games last year.

Ausmus was also reportedly being courted by the Padres because he was looking to play near his home in Del Mar, Calif., which is close to San Diego. The veteran instead chose the Dodgers and will back up All-Star Russell Martin next season. Ausmus is known for his ability to handle pitching staffs and has won three Gold Gloves in his career.

He saw action behind the plate 77 times while also playing two games at first base and game each at second base and third base. He earned $2 million last season.

Ausmus, who broke into the Majors with the Padres in 1993, has played for three different teams in his career but spent the last eight seasons with the Astros. He's a career .251 hitter and ranks ninth on the all-time list for games caught with 1,857.

"He's excited about it," said Ausmus' agent, Peter Mrowka. "He's looking forward to playing with the Dodgers and for Joe Torre."

Ausmus, who turns 40 in April, can earn an additional $350,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.

Ausmus makes his offseason home in Del Mar, about 100 miles south of Los Angeles.

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