MLB

Dodgers sign Lilly to 3-year, $33M deal

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LOS ANGELES (AP)

Pitcher Ted Lilly passed on the opportunity to test the free agent market, signing a three-year, $33 million deal on Tuesday to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

''I thought this was a really good opportunity for me and the future looks really good,'' he said on a conference call after completing a physical.

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While a judge considers a ruling in owner Frank McCourt's divorce trial, general manager Ned Colletti said McCourt has given him an undisclosed payroll figure for the 2011 season and ''it's up from a year ago.''

''I'd still like to add more starting pitching and a bullpen arm or two and some position players,'' Colletti said.

He liked the way Lilly helped stabilize the Dodgers' rotation after the pitcher was acquired in a deal with the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline.

Lilly received a $3.5 million signing bonus to be paid over three years, his agent Larry O'Brien said. The deal includes a full no-trade clause in the first two seasons.

''I feel very grateful,'' said Lilly, a two-time All-Star from suburban Torrance recently completed a four-year, $40 million contract.

He considered sitting back and waiting on potential offers in free agency.

''Those aren't the things I want to be thinking about. I want to be preparing for the upcoming season,'' Lilly said. ''I want to try and get back to what Cliff Lee is doing. I've been watching pretty much every pitch he's been throwing this offseason.''

Lee struck out 13 in helping Texas beat the New York Yankees 8-0 Monday night in Game 3 of the AL championship series.

''My dream is to get an opportunity to do something like that,'' Lilly said.

The left-hander was 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts for Los Angeles. He and Ryan Theriot went to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt, Kyle Smit and Bret Wallach.

Overall, Lilly was 10-12 with a 3.62 ERA in 30 combined starts with the Dodgers and Cubs. He allowed three runs or less in 22 of his 30 outings.

Lilly won his first five starts with the Dodgers in early August. He received the lowest run support in the major leagues with 2.88 runs per game.

Lilly, who turns 35 in January, said he could see himself pitching into his 40s like Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer, who turns 48 next month.

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''I take care of myself. I love the game and I certainly want to do this for a while,'' he said.

''When you're getting older, there's going to be a lot of question marks about an organization signing players to multiple year deals. I'm eager to try and make sure it was worth it. One way we can do that is by winning.''

Lilly's return gives the Dodgers three established starting pitchers, along with Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. The other two members of the rotation, Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla, will be free agents this winter.

''We'll take the veteran status and know-how,'' Colletti said about Lilly. ''Having somebody with Ted's resume, his ability to pitch, his communication skills and his willingness to help (younger) guys through was another plus.''

Meanwhile, Russell Martin's future with the team is no closer to being settled. The arbitration-eligible catcher sustained a season-ending hip injury on Aug. 3. The Dodgers are monitoring Martin's progress during rehabilitation before deciding whether to keep him.

''We'll know more in another four weeks,'' Colletti said. ''We've had no setbacks but until he starts to really exert himself, we're undecided.''

Tagged: Cubs, Dodgers, Ted Lilly

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