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Originally published Friday, January 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

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Mariners sign veteran catcher Ronny Paulino

Catcher Ronny Paulino, who has played parts of eight major-league seasons with four teams, was signed Friday by the Mariners. It's a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Mariners added needed catching depth Friday by signing veteran Ronny Paulino to a minor-league contract.

Paulino was invited to major-league spring training. The Mariners have just one catcher on their 40-man-roster: Jesus Montero, who is expected to do the bulk of the catching until 2012 top draft pick Mike Zunino is ready for the major leagues.

Zunino has been invited to spring training along with minor-leaguers John Hicks and Jesus Sucre. It is possible the Mariners will sign another veteran catcher before players report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12.

Paulino, 31, split last season between the Orioles and their Class AAA team in Norfolk, Va. He batted .254 with Baltimore in 20 games. He has spent portions of eight major-league seasons with the Pirates, Marlins, Mets and Orioles, and has a career .325 average against left-handed pitching. Paulino has thrown out 29 percent of attempted base-stealers in his career.

Paulino was suspended for 50 games in 2010, while with the Marlins, for violating MLB's policy against performance-enhancing drugs, for which he blamed a diet pill.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @StoneLarry

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