Dodgers sign Choi, non-tender three

Dodgers sign Choi, non-tender three

LOS ANGELES -- After signing free agent outfielder Kenny Lofton earlier on Tuesday, the Dodgers also re-signed first baseman Hee-Seop Choi to a one-year contract and did not tender contracts to catcher Jason Phillips, outfielder Mike Edwards and infielder Brian Myrow.

The 26-year-old Choi, who was eligible for salary arbitration, was signed for $725,000, a modest raise after earning $351,500 in 2005. With the Monday signing of free agent Nomar Garciaparra to play first base, Choi becomes a backup there and a second left-handed pinch-hitter to Ricky Ledee, if he is not traded.

Last season, Choi finished second on the club with 133 games played and tied for second with 15 home runs, while batting .253 with 42 RBIs. Six of his home runs came in a three-game span, including three in one game against Minnesota on June 12. The Dodgers obtained the South Korean slugger with pitcher Brad Penny in the 2004 Paul Lo Duca trade with Florida.

The 29-year-old Phillips, also eligible for salary arbitration, was acquired from the Mets last spring for Kazuhisa Ishii to be the starting catcher, but struggled throwing out runners and eventually lost the job to rookie Dioner Navarro. The Dodgers recently signed veteran Sandy Alomar Jr. to back up Navarro, making Phillips expendable. Phillips hit .238 with 10 home runs and was third on the club with 55 RBIs in 121 games in 2005. Ishii was released by the Mets earlier this week.

The 29-year-old Edwards hit .247 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 88 games as a rookie utilityman last year. He might be re-signed to a Minor League contract.

The 29-year-old Myrow appeared in 19 games in 2005 and hit .200 in a September callup. There is a possibility he will play in Japan or Korea.

Neither Edwards nor Myrow were eligible for salary arbitration and their non-tenders are designed to clear roster spots for later acquisitions.

The Dodgers also re-signed left-handed reliever Kelly Wunsch to a Minor League contract that would pay him $650,000 if he makes the club, with another $75,000 in appearance incentives. Wunsch is coming off ankle and hip operations, but said he has begun throwing and expects to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.