MLB: Troy Glaus and Braves finalize $1.75 million deal
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA — Now that his shoulder is finally healthy, Troy Glaus is ready to learn a new position and regain his power stroke.
Glaus and the Atlanta Braves finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract Tuesday, a deal that allows him to earn an additional $2.25 million in performance and roster bonuses.
After missing most of last season with St. Louis following right shoulder surgery, Glaus is set to shift from third base to first in Atlanta.
"I have no concerns about being able to go out there and play," he said. "I've been able to get myself this winter in the quality of shape I wasn't able to the winter before. I foresee continuing on where I left off."
A four-time All-Star and the 2002 World Series MVP with Anaheim, the 33-year-old Glaus has played third base most of his career. He said he placed a higher priority on signing with a competitive team than finding one that would keep him at third.
"I think this affords me an opportunity to play on a team I think is very, very close to going back to the playoffs," Glaus said. "I've been a fan of the organization for a long, long time."
Glaus asked for patience as he adjusts defensively, but the Braves are most eager to see him at the plate. He hit only .172 in 14 games with the Cardinals last season, including two games at first base.
The Braves hope Glaus, a right-handed hitter, adds much-needed power behind Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. Atlanta ranked 22nd in the major leagues with 149 homers last season.
Glaus hit 27 homers with 99 RBIs for St. Louis in 2008 and had 30 or more homers in five of seven seasons from 2000-06 with the Angels, Arizona and Toronto. He has 304 career homers.
He has played at least 149 games in a season seven times in his career and in those seven seasons he averaged 36 homers, 100 RBIs and 94 runs.
With the Braves, Glaus is expected to replace first baseman Adam LaRoche, who became a free agent.
"Early in spring, bear with me," Glaus said. "We'll get that all ironed out. ... I'm looking forward to practicing some first base."
He said he has recovered from the surgery.
"I've been working out with no restrictions at all," Glaus said. "Last year I really was never able to work out at all. I was just rehabbing and things like that, trying to get my arm back in shape."
The addition of Glaus comes after general manager Frank Wren acquired outfielder Melky Cabrera as part of a five-player trade that sent right-hander Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees. Wren also signed closer Billy Wagner and setup man Takashi Saito.
Braves manager Bobby Cox has said top prospect Jason Heyward, a first-round draft pick in 2007, will be given a chance in spring training to win the starting job in right field.
The Braves might view Glaus as a short-term answer at first base while another touted prospect, Freddie Freeman, progresses through the minor leagues.
Wren said he doesn't expect any more major moves this offseason.
"I think we're going to look at some smaller additions and we're open-minded to improving the club in other ways, but I think primarily the club is in place," Wren said. "I think the big pieces are in place. As Bobby has said, we're going to be open-minded with what happens with our young player in right field and see where that goes."
Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz also return in the outfield.
Glaus would earn $250,000 if he is on the active 25-man roster for 100 days. He also would get $350,000 each for 400, 450 and 500 plate appearances, $400,000 for 550 and $550,000 for 600.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.