Gary Bennett, Come On Down

DODGERS SIGN BENNETT TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

Veteran Catcher to backup Russell Martin in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have signed free agent catcher Gary Bennett to a one-year contract, according to Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.t1_collision.jpg“Gary provides us with a veteran catcher who can spell Russell from time to time,” said Colletti. “ He has been a member of some very good teams and the fact that he has spent his entire Major League career in the National League is also something we found to be beneficial.”Bennett, 35, spent the last two seasons as the primary backup catcher to Yadier Molina in St. Louis and hit .252 with two homers and 17 RBI in 2007. Over his 12-year career, Bennett has 21 home runs, 188 RBI, 73 doubles and a .242 career average. The Illinois native was drafted in 1990 by Philadelphia and has spent his entire career in the National League, playing for the Phillies, Mets, Rockies, Padres, Brewers, Nationals and Cardinals.

Last year, Bennett hit .314 following the All-Star break, including .400 (8-for-20) in the month of September and closed the season on a 7-for-11 tear (.636). The veteran also batted .313 with runners on base, .333 with runners in scoring position and two out and .383 from the seventh inning on.

In 2002, Bennett turned in his best season, batting .265 with four homers and 26 RBI while playing in 90 games. The next year, he established career highs with 96 games played, 307 at-bats and 42 RBI. The six-foot, right-handed backstop matched his career high with four home runs during the 2006 campaign.

Bennett has appeared in two playoff series, seeing action in the 2006 National League Division and League Championship Series, during the Cardinals’ march to a World Series title that season.

Well. He’s not much of a hitter. And I’d really have preferred Mike Lieberthal back. However, he’s Russell Martin’s backup – so whether that’s Bennett, Lieberthal, or 65 year old Johnny Bench, if he’s playing more than once a week we’re screwed either way.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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