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Lo Duca: The team's official release

This just popped into the in-box. Paul Lo Duca, indeed, will be at the press gathering today at Washington Square, the Lerner offices on Connecticut Ave. downtown.

Here's the announcement:

The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Paul Lo Duca on a one-year contract. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

Lo Duca, 35, is a career .288 (1070-for-3719) hitter with 213 doubles, 80 home runs and 466 RBI in 1015 big league games spanning 10 seasons with Los Angeles-NL (1998-2004), Florida (2004-05) and New York-NL (2006-07). Last season, Lo Duca hit .272 with nine home runs and 54 RBI in 119 games with the Mets.

A four-time National League All-Star (2003-06), Lo Duca has started an average of 117 games behind the plate the last seven seasons (2001-07) and his career catcher's caught stealing percentage is 26.4 percent (212 caught stealings/804 attempts). As recently as two seasons ago, in 2006, Lo Duca's .318 batting average ranked seventh in the National League.

In seven seasons as a front-line catcher, Lo Duca's clubs have averaged 89 wins per campaign and never suffered through a losing season. Lo Duca is one of just eight big league catchers with 1000 or more hits, and only two catchers (Jason Kendall, Ivan Rodriguez) have more hits since he became a front-line starter at the beginning of the 2001 season. Lo Duca has hit 10 or more home runs four times, including a career-best 25 in 2001, and legged out 30 or more doubles three times.

Lo Duca's reputation as a top-notch defensive signal caller is long standing. His communication and game-calling skills have helped pitchers such as Eric Gagne (back-to-back 50-save seasons, 2002-03) Josh Beckett (break-out 15-win season in 2005), Carl Pavano (career-best 18 wins in 2004) and Dontrelle Willis (career-high 22 wins in 2005) elevate their careers to new heights.

By Barry Svrluga  |  December 11, 2007; 1:54 PM ET
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