Braves Sign Moehler, Elder, Nilsson

The Atlanta Braves have signed three former big leaguers to minor league contracts: pitchers Brian Moehler and Dave Elder and infielder Dave Nilsson.

Moehler spent the 2003 season with the Houston Astros starting three games (0-0, 7.90 ERA). He started only one game in AAA New Orleans. Moehler was trying to come back from the shoulder surgery he had on July 4, 2001. He started only one game that season for the Tigers and three games in 2002 (1-1, 2.29 ERA) before Detroit traded him to the Reds (2-4, 6.02 ERA in 9 games started). Moehler was a dependable starter for the Tigers from 1997-2000 (47-50, 4.51 ERA in 125 starts).

The 32-year old Moehler lives in Marietta, Georgia. The right-hander is 6'3", 225 pounds. He was a sixth round pick by Detroit in 1993.

Elder spent the last two seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization. He pitched in 15 games with Cleveland in 2002 (0-2, 3.13 ERA, 18 hits in 23 innings, 14 walks, and 23 strikeouts). Then last season he started the year in AAA Buffalo (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 6 games) before being called up to Cleveland on May 1st. He struggled in four games with the Indians (1-1, 19.29 ERA, 5 ER in 2.3 innings pitched) and was placed on the disabled list on May 12th with shoulder tendonitis. Elder then had shoulder surgery on June 25th and missed the remainder of the 2003 season. He had Tommy John surgery in 1998.

The 6'0", 180 pound right-hander was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 4th round back in 1997. Elder spent four and a half years in the Rangers system before being traded to Cleveland for former Braves reliever John Rocker. Elder played his college ball at Georgia Tech and played high school ball in Pensacola, Florida. Elder now lives in Conyers, Georgia, just 20 miles east of Atlanta.

Nilsson has spent the last four years playing overseas in his native Australia. Before that he spent parts of eight seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers (.284, 105 home runs, 470 RBI). He has played first base, left field, and came up as a catcher.

All three will report to the Braves minor league camp on March 8th.

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