Dodgers re-sign Padilla

The Dodgers finally completed their search for a fourth starter, re-signing Vicente Padilla to a one-year, $5.025 million contract after the veteran right-hander became a key member of their starting rotation down the stretch last season.

Padilla, 32, will join a rotation that includes fellow holdovers Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw.

The signing leaves lefties Eric Stults and Scott Elbert, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, newcomer Carlos Monasterios and nonroster veteran Russ Ortiz to compete for the fifth spot.

The Dodgers signed Padilla on Aug. 19, shortly after the Texas Rangers released him. Padilla went 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in eight appearances, seven of them starts.

Padilla turned in seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits, in the Dodgers' division series-clinching win at St. Louis on Oct. 10. He then gave the Dodgers another stellar performance in the National League Championship Series, giving up one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Phillies, in what turned out to be the Dodgers' only victory of the series.

Padilla was torched for six runs in three-plus innings in the final game of the NLCS.

He has a career mark of 98-85 with a 4.33 ERA in 11 major league seasons with four clubs. His best stretch came with Philadelphia in 2002 and 2003, when he went a combined 28-13 with a 3.45 ERA.

Padilla will receive a $4.025 million base salary in 2010 and a $1 million signing bonus payable in 2011.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.