Braves Add Lefty To Bullpen

Still in bargain-hunting mode, the Braves today signed LHP <B>Armando Almanza</B> to a one year deal worth approximately five-hundred thousand dollars. Almanza, 31, was non-tendered by the Florida Marlins on Sunday.

The Atlanta Braves today agreed to terms with free agent left-handed pitcher Armando Almanza on a one-year contract.

Almanza would get an additional $100,000 if he is on the active roster at any point and could earn $500,000 in performance bonuses.

Almanza, 31, was 4-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 51 games for the Florida Marlins in 2003 before being placed on the disabled list Aug. 21 with left shoulder tendinitis.

The left handed reliever had surgeory August 28th to remove a bone spur from his elbow. He is expected to be fully recovered by the beginning of Spring Training.

Originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round of the 1993 June free agent draft, Almanza was traded to the Marlins with shortstop Pablo Ozuna and pitcher Braden Looper in exchange for shortstop Edgar Renteria on December 14, 1998.

Almanza retains a live arm that can pump fastballs at 92-96 MPH. He elevates his four-seamer well, getting overanxious hitters to climb the ladder, producing a marked flyball ratio. That also helps his big-breaking overhand curve. His changeup is much improved, as evidenced by the fact that righthanders posted an on-base percentage that was nearly 150 points lower than lefties. Almanza moves well on his feet and is very aware of situations and limitations. He holds runners well, but is 0-for-4 at the plate in his career.

In parts of five Major League seasons, Almanza has complied a career record of 13-12 with a 4.79 ERA and 2 saves in 235 appearances. To create room on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Chris Waters was designated for assignment.

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