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Ludwick signs two-year deal with Reds

Ryan Ludwick is returning to Cincinnati.

The left fielder officially signed a two-year, $15 million deal with a mutual option to return to the Reds on Monday.

"Ryan was very important to our success last year, and we're looking to keep that momentum going into next season," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He and his agents made it clear he enjoyed his time here last season and that he wanted to continue to play in Cincinnati. We know he had other offers, and we're glad we were able to reach an agreement to bring Ryan back for at least two more years."

Ludwick, 34, experienced a bounce-back season in 2012 after struggling with the Padres and Pirates in 2011. He hit .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs to help Cincinnati win the National League Central.

"I felt like last year was a good year, but I think we always strive to do better," Ludwick said at a press conference at Great American Ball Park on Monday. "Ultimately, I want to prove that the one year I was an All-Star [in '08] wasn't a fluke and that I can be an All-Star again. And I think the ultimate goal would be to win a World Series, and that's why I came back here. We have the guys in place."

Ludwick signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Cincinnati in 2012, which proved to be a bargain, as the veteran became the club's regular left fielder and one of its most potent bats.

"I felt like in this environment and this ballpark he'd do well and he did," Jocketty said. "And I think he realizes that and was a reason he came back."

Ludwick has played 10 Major League seasons with the Rangers, Indians, Cardinals, Padres, Pirates and Reds and is a .263 career hitter with 143 homers.

He said his familiarity with the franchise and Jocketty, who was also the GM in St. Louis when Ludwick joined the Cardinals in '08, played a major factor in his decision to return to Cincinnati. He also was raised a Reds fan, as his parents grew up only about an hour away from the city.

"A lot of the decision was based on the same decision as last year," Ludwick said. "I'm very familiar with Walt and the way he does business. He's put together a lot of good teams in the past. I felt like coming in last year we had a chance to win and we did."

Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Ludwick