ATLANTA (AP) -Mark Kotsay appears headed for Atlanta to fill Andruw Jones' spot in center field.
The Braves reached a tentative deal Saturday to acquire the oft-injured Kotsay from the Oakland Athletics for reliever Joey Devine and cash, according to several media reports. The trade is contingent on Kotsay passing a physical and the commissioner's office approving the money involved in the deal.
Kotsay, who was hampered by back problems last season, hit .214 with one homer and 20 RBIs in 56 games last year. He is a career .282 hitter in 11 seasons in the majors.
He had surgery last spring in which a portion of a herniated disk was removed from his lower back. He missed the first two months of the season and returned to the disabled list with back spasms in August.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Kotsay isn't expected to be examined by Braves doctors before Monday.
A's assistant general manager David Forst confirmed earlier Saturday that talks were ongoing with Atlanta.
``We are still looking to improve our club leading into spring training,'' Braves general manager Frank Wren told The Associated Press on Saturday in an e-mail response to a question about the team's interest in Kotsay.
The 32-year-old Kotsay could be a temporary bridge between Jones and the team's future in center field, Jordan Schafer, who may be at least a year from the major leagues. Kotsay will be a free agent after the 2008 season.
Devine has bounced between Atlanta and the minors the last three years. The 24-year-old struggled with control early in his career but posted a 1.08 ERA in 10 games with Atlanta last season and had 20 saves in the minors.
Oakland signed free agent outfielder Emil Brown to a one-year contract Friday.
Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, agreed to a $36.2 million, two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December.
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