Glaus passes physical, signs with Braves
Slugger to play first base in 2010 after injury-marred '09
ATLANTA -- The holiday season delayed his opportunity to complete all of his necessary medical evaluations. But after missing most of the 2009 season while returning from shoulder surgery, Troy Glaus was certainly willing to wait a couple of weeks before the Braves could officially introduce him as the last significant addition to this winter's roster reconstruction process.
Once Glaus passed his physical on Tuesday, the Braves proudly confirmed that they had signed the 33-year-old veteran to serve as their new first baseman. The one-year deal is worth $1.75 million and includes incentives that could net him an additional $2.25 million. Terms were agreed upon on Dec. 23, and the official announcement was delayed by the holiday season.
"I think this affords me the chance to play for a team that I think is very, very close to going back to the playoffs," said Glaus, who added that he has been interested in playing for Braves manager Bobby Cox since the two were introduced during an All-Star tour in Japan at the conclusion of the 2000 season.
With the addition of versatile outfielder Melky Cabera, who was acquired via the Dec. 22 trade that sent Javier Vazquez back to the Yankees, and Glaus, whose primary responsibility will be to provide Chipper Jones the right-handed protection he's been lobbying to gain, the Braves are done with their big moves, said general manager Frank Wren.
Before going to Spring Training, Wren will likely complete his offensive needs with the acquisition of a versatile utility player, who would be utilized as the club's primary pinch-hitter.
"We've been looking for that right-handed presence in our lineup for a while, and Troy gives us that," Wren said. "He gives us a guy who can hit in the middle of the lineup that can very easily hit 25-30 homers and drive in 100 runs. He just gives us that offensive presence that we've been missing."
If healthy, Glaus certainly has the potential to be a definite bargain, whose value could be enhanced via the positive effect he could have on Jones. The four-time All-Star has totaled at least 27 homers and 97 RBIs during each of his past seven seasons that have included at least 120 games.
"His numbers speak for themselves," Cox said. "He's only 33 years old right now, and that's not old in baseball right now by any means. Hopefully he'll be the guy that hits around Chipper Jones to give him protection. He's always been a run producer."
Recognized as a sound defensive third baseman, Glaus doesn't seem too concerned about making the transition to first base, a position he's played just six times during his big league career. But the 6-foot-5, 250-pound infielder believes he will benefit from some of that athleticism that he displayed while serving as a shortstop during his successful collegiate career at UCLA.
"Catching a ground ball is pretty much the same, no matter where you are playing," Glaus said. "I'm going to have to pay more attention to the different responsibilities that a first baseman has, because I'll probably have to think about them."
By the time Spring Training is complete, Glaus will have had plenty of time to learn the intricacies of the first-base position. His more pressing challenge seems to come in the form of proving he's capable of bouncing back after being limited to just 14 regular-season games with the Cardinals in 2009.
After hitting .270 with 27 homers and an .856 OPS for the St. Louis in 2008, Glaus was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder last January. His overambitious determination to return by Opening Day led to swelling that further delayed his return until September. Once he was deemed healthy, he appeared in 14 regular-season games and made two pinch-hit appearances in the postseason.
Glaus' playing time during this late-season return was primarily limited to pinch-hit appearances. He made just five starts, and only two of those came after he made a third consecutive appearance in the starting lineup on Sept. 7.
"I want to be healthy and I want to play every day," Glaus said. "If that happens, then I feel confident that it will all be right there."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.