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Dodgers sign veteran reliever Mike MacDougal

January 28, 2011 |  3:57 pm

File this one under … oh, file it however you like.

The Dodgers signed right-handed reliever Mike MacDougal to a minor league contract Friday, with an invitation to spring camp, which has been his modus operandi for the past three offseasons.

It doesn’t answer their need for another left-hander in the bullpen, but he could prove a decent arm to call up during the season when relievers start going down.

That’s a decent-sized could, MacDougal finishing last season with a 7.23 ERA in 17 games with the Cardinals, though he spent much of the year in the minors.

Once -- back in 2003 -- MacDougal was an All-Star for the Kansas City Royals, saving 27 games. Since then, a lot of up and down. He turns 34 in March.

He throws hard, but sometimes struggles with his control. Just two years ago, he appeared in 52 games for the Nationals and saved 20 games.

Unless something unforeseen happens, he doesn’t figure to make the team out of camp. The bullpen is already full, and it still lacks a second left-hander.

It’s a minor gamble, and possible insurance for later on.

-- Steve Dilbeck