Braves to sign George Sherill

The Braves will add another reliever to the 2010 bullpen.


LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL

The Braves have agreed to a one-year contract with former Dodgers reliever George Sherrill.

Sherill is expected to take a physical later in the week. If all goes well, he'll sign a one-year contract worth a reported $1.2 million plus incentives.

Sherrill was Baltimore's closer for a year and a half between 2008-2009. Sherrill saved 31 games in 2008 and had a 4.73 ERA. In 2009 he saved 21 games and had a 2.40 ERA before being traded to the Dodgers, where he posted a 0.65 ERA as the setup man to Jonathan Broxton.

But in 2010 Sherrill's numbers are a bit deceiving. His overall ERA was 6.69, and he allowed 46 hits in 36.1 innings, with 24 walks and 25 strikeouts. However, left-handed hitters batted only .192 against Sherrill, with a .286 on base percentage. Right-handed hitters were much more successful, batting .427 against Sherrill.

In 2009, Sherrill limited lefty hitters to a .128 average, and in his career left-handed batters have hit only .167 against him.

So Sherrill is going to be able to get left-handed hitters out, which is essential for the Braves in the National League East with the Philadelphia Phillies having Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the lineup.

Add Sherrill to Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty, and the Braves now have three strong lefties in the bullpen. Venters limited lefty hitters to a .198 average in his first major league season. Lefties had a .231 average against O'Flaherty last season, and he's limited them to a .225 average in his career.

Scott Linebrink, acquired last week from the White Sox, will join Craig Kimbrel and veteran Peter Moylan to give Atlanta a strong six-man group.

Scott Proctor and Cristian Martinez will battle it out to win the last spot. Young pitchers Juan Abreu, Stephen Marek, Lee Hyde, Cory Gearrin, and Erik Cordier will also get long looks in spring training camp.



Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes columns for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.


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