Dodgers sign Garret Anderson

Times Staff Writers

The Dodgers signed Garret Anderson to a minor league contract Wednesday night, adding a hometown candidate to the audition for left-handed pinch-hitter.

Anderson, 37, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and grew into a star outfielder with the Angels, is expected to compete with Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz for one spot on the Dodgers’ bench.

If he makes the team, Anderson will earn $550,000, with up to $200,000 possible in incentive bonuses. If he does not make the team, he can ask for his release.

The Dodgers had considered Anderson earlier this winter, but they rated Reed Johnson as superior defensively — particularly in center field — and signed Johnson to be their fourth outfielder, at a guaranteed $800,000.

Anderson, 37, is expected to report to camp Friday. He hit .268 with 13 home runs for the Atlanta Braves last season In his 16-year career, he has 41 at-bats as a pinch-hitter, with two extra-base hits, two walks and a .297 batting average.

“If we can find a place for a solid veteran left-handed hitter, it will help,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said. “Between Doug, Brian and Garret, we hope to find one.”

Colletti spoke with Anderson on Wednesday, making sure the three-time All-Star understood he would be competing for a bench job. Anderson has been a regular since joining the Angels’ lineup in 1995—bumping Tony Phillips from left field to third base in the process — and he is 499 hits shy of 3,000.

“He’s still an above-average major league hitter,” Colletti said. “He still played a lot last year for Atlanta. He was productive. He knows how to play and compete.”

Anderson, who attended Kennedy High in Granada Hills, played in the 1989 City Section championship game at Dodger Stadium. He is the Angels’ all-time leader in runs, hits and runs batted in, and he had the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the Angels’ 2002 World Series victory.

Hernandez reported from Phoenix

Shaikin reported from Los Angeles