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Dodgers sign Randy Choate to minor league contract

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have signed veteran left-handed pitcher Randy Choate to a minor league contract, and the left-hander made his debut with a brief stint in the Arizona Rookie League on Thursday night.

Matt Eddy of Baseball America was the first to report the signing.

Choate pitched in the fourth inning on Thursday in relief of Ross Stripling, but faced only four batters. He allowed a triple and two singles before striking out a batter in his first appearance of the year. All three batters that reached base eventually scored.

Choate, 40, was signed to a minor league contract by the Blue Jays in the offseason, but was released at the end of spring training. The 15-year major league veteran spent the last three seasons with the Cardinals, and put up a 3.95 ERA in 71 games, with 22 strikeouts and five walks in 27⅓ innings.

As you might have gleaned from the inning total relative to his appearances, Choate is pretty much the prototypical LOOGY (Left-handed One-Out GuY), averaging just 0.51 innings per appearance dating back to 2009.

In 51 of Choate's 71 appearances in 2015, he faced only one batter.

Left-handed hitters in his career have hit just .195/.276/.274 against Choate, with a 26.2-percent strikeout rate in 1,036 plate appearances. In 2015, Choate held lefties to .265/.333/.361, the first time in five years he allowed lefties an OPS of over .492.

Choate pitched for the Dodgers in the final two months of 2013, acquired from the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade. He pitched in 36 of the final 64 games of the season for the Dodgers, a pace of 91 games over a full season. He has twice led the league in games pitched, appearing in 85 games in 2010 and 80 in 2012.

During his Dodgers stint, Choate told me he would one day like to break former Dodger Mike Marshall's major league record of 106 games, set in 1974.

"Personally my goal going into every year is 90 games and 45 innings. My ultimate goal would someday to approach Mike Marshall's record, but I know that's not really doable," Choate said. "That's a lot of games, and it just doesn't happen that much these days. I think my arm can handle the workload."