Butera, 31, was designated for assignment after the Dodgers claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers from the Boston Red Sox last week. Butera will compete with Carlos Perez and Jett Bandy for the backup catching job behind starter Chris Iannetta.
Known more for his strong arm — he has pitched 1 2/3 big league innings, his fastball touching 94 mph — than his bat, Butera hit .188 (32 for 170) with three homers and 14 RBIs in 61 games for the Dodgers this past season.
He allowed nine passed balls and 16 wild pitches in 445 innings behind the plate but threw out 11 of 34 would-be base stealers (32.4%)
“He can really catch, he can really throw, and he calls a good game,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said on the second day of the winter meetings. “He has the experience of being with good teams and of catching good pitching staffs.
“He has a tremendous defensive reputation that certainly outdistances his offensive reputation, but we feel like he’s a nice fit for us, to back up Chris Iannetta with Carlos Perez and Jett Bandy. That combination of four gives us as much catching depth as we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Butera, a fifth-round pick of the New York Mets in 2005, is out of options, so the Angels will not be able to demote him to triple-A Salt Lake without passing him through waivers.
Butera has been behind the plate for two no-hitters during his five-year career, thrown by Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano against the Chicago White Sox on May 3, 2011, and Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett against the Philadelphia Phillies last May 25.
In 251 career big-league games, Butera has hit .183 with eight homers and 55 RBIs.
Next up on Dipoto’s winter to-do list is the acquisition of a utility infielder who can play shortstop, most likely through a trade, though the Angels are attempting to retain free-agent utility infielder Gordon Beckham. Among the possible targets is Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox.