12/06/2006 2:20 PM ET
Dodgers sign Lieberthal to one-year deal
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have signed two-time All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal to a one-year contract with a club option for a second year, according to Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.
"Mike is a veteran catcher who can help our club in a lot of different ways," said Colletti. "As a former Gold Glove Award winner, he has a lot to offer Russell Martin and he'll be able to provide valuable leadership in the clubhouse. He's another local player who knows what it means to be a Dodger."
Lieberthal, 34, was named to the National League All-Star team in 1999 and 2000 and earned the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1999. During his 13-year career with the Phillies, he has a .275 lifetime batting average with 150 homers and 609 RBI. He became the franchise's all-time leader in games caught and his 10 Opening Day starts with Philadelphia is also a club record.
Last season, Lieberthal appeared in 67 games, batting .273 with nine homers and 36 RBI. He had two stints on the disabled list for a left knee contusion suffered when he was hit by a pitch and a left hip strain. Prior to 2006, Lieberthal had appeared in 100 or more games in seven of the previous nine seasons, including a career-high 145 games in 1999.
Since 1997, the right-handed hitting receiver has caught 1,060 games, the seventh-most among all Major League catchers. He also has 141 home runs during that span, the fifth-most among Major League receivers behind Mike Piazza (269), Ivan Rodriguez (202), Javy Lopez (193) and Jorge Posada (193).
Lieberthal made his Major League debut at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 1994 and his finest season came in 1999 when he hit a career-high 31 homers and drove in 96 runs for Philadelphia while batting .300. That year, Lieberthal became the sixth catcher in Major League history to bat .300 and hit 30 homers in a season, joining former Dodgers Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella and Rick Wilkins, Joe Torre and Gabby Hartnett.
A native of Glendale and resident of Westlake Village, CA, Lieberthal graduated from Westlake Village High School and was a first-round pick - the third overall selection - of the June 1990 First-Year Player Draft. Though his father, Dennis, was a scout for the Giants, his family had Dodger season tickets growing up, when he patterned his game after former Dodger catcher and current minor league instructor Steve Yeager.
For the past nine seasons, Lieberthal has purchased $35,000 worth of tickets for children with cancer and co-hosts an annual charity event in Philadelphia.