Bako signs with Braves

Dec. 6, 2001 at 6:54 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Paul Bako, who did a solid job in the National League Division Series filling in for an injured Javy Lopez, Thursday signed a one-year contract to remain with the Atlanta Braves.

Bako, 29, was eligible for arbitration, but opted for a one-year, deal worth $750,000.

Bako was Lopez's backup for most of the season, but also served as ace righthander Greg Maddux's personal catcher. He batted .212 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 64 games, and when Lopez suffered a left ankle sprain during the final week of the season, Bako stepped in and had seven hits in his final 14 at bats.

During the Division Series against Houston, Bako was two for seven with a homer and three RBI. He could see more playing time in 2002 as Lopez is a free agent who might prove too costly for the cost-conscious Braves.

In a five-year career that includes stints with Detroit, Houston and Florida, Bako has an average of .247 with nine homers and 82 RBI in 311 games.

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