ATLANTA (AP) -The Braves completed a trade for center fielder Mark Kotsay on Monday, dealing reliever Joey Devine and a minor league pitcher to the Oakland Athletics.
The deal was finalized after Kotsay, who played only 56 games last year, was examined by Braves doctors. He had back surgery last spring, missed the first two months of the season and returned to the disabled list with back spasms in August.
The Braves received cash, with Oakland expected to pick up a sizable portion of Kotsay's $7.35 million salary in the final year of his contract. He is eligible for free agency after the 2008 season.
Atlanta was eager to find a replacement for perennial Gold Glover Andruw Jones, who left for a $36.2 million, two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 32-year-old Kotsay is known for his defense, recording double-digit assists six times in his career. From 1998-06, he averaged 141 games played, 529 at-bats, 71 runs, 11 homers, 60 RBI and a .286 batting average per season.
He batted just .214 last season, however.
``Mark is one of the most accomplished defensive center fielders in the game and is a true professional,'' general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. ``We feel that we have added another quality baseball player to our club.''
Devine, the Braves' top pitck in the 2005 amateur draft, went 1-1 with a 6.86 ERA in 25 games over parts of three seasons. The hard-throwing right-hander is best known for giving up grand slams in his first two big league appearances, then an 18th-inning homer that ended the '05 division series against Houston.
The Braves also sent Jamie Richmond to Oakland. The 21-year-old righty was 16-7 with a 2.48 ERA in three minor league seasons with the Braves.
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