<
>

Angels sign catcher Mathis, four others

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels have agreed to
terms of one-year contracts with five players including catcher
Jeff Mathis, who figures to be a contender for the starting
catcher's job.

The other players who reached agreement were catcher Mike
Napoli, infielder Howie Kendrick, and outfielders Tommy Murphy and
Reggie Willits.

The 22-year-old Mathis spent most of last season playing for
Triple-A Salt Lake of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .276 with
21 homers and 73 RBI in 112 games. He appeared in five games with
the Angels late in the season. He was a first-round pick in the
2001 free agent draft.

The Angels didn't offer salary arbitration to Bengie Molina, who
was their starting catcher for the most part from 2000-05. The
31-year-old Molina remains unsigned.

Molina's brother, Jose, is likely to compete with Mathis for
playing time.