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Rockies land catcher Lopez

Rockies land catcher Lopez

DENVER -- Catcher Javy Lopez won the Rockies' hearts with the effort he applied to improving his defense this offseason. But if his history is an indicator, he just might win games with his bat -- especially at home -- during the season.

Lopez, who officially agreed to a one-year contract on Tuesday, arrives with a .356 batting average with five home runs, eight doubles, a triple and 18 RBIs in 29 career contests at Coors Field.

Of course, that's contingent on Lopez earning playing time this spring. He's competing with Yorvit Torrealba and rookie Chris Iannetta, both of whom started for the Rockies at various points last season.

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Lopez, 36, a two-time All-Star catcher with the Braves before spending the last two seasons in the American League, batted .251 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs while splitting his time between catcher and designated hitter with the Orioles and Red Sox last season.

"I give [Rockies general manager] Dan [O'Dowd] a lot of credit," said agent Chuck Berry, who represents Lopez. "There are some positions where you never seem to have enough players -- left-handed pitcher, shortstop, catcher, center field -- so Javy doesn't mind competing.

"Last year, nothing seemed to go right for Javy, and he's doing all he can to come back from that."

The contract, which becomes official once Lopez passes a physical, is for $750,000, but the base salary moves to $1 million once he becomes active during the regular season. He can earn an additional $600,000 via performance bonuses.

The signing also means the Rockies will have employed two unrelated players who have the same name. Left-handed pitcher Javier Lopez was a member of the Colorado bullpen from 2003-05. The Lopezes also were on the Red Sox roster last season.

In another development, the agent for right-handed pitcher Brian Lawrence said he planned to talk to the Rockies on Tuesday night.

Page Odle said Lawrence, who has pitched well in bullpen sessions after missing last season because of labrum surgery, has received offers from the Pirates and Mariners, and several other teams are interested. Odle said Lawrence is at the stage of "collecting information" from clubs.

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

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