KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tom Glavine has returned to the Atlanta Braves for one more season, reaching a preliminary agreement on a $1 million, one-year contract.
The deal is likely to be announced Friday, a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Braves had not yet confirmed it. It will contain $3.5 million in bonuses based on roster time.
"It's very close," Braves spokesman Brad Hainje said Thursday night. "They're going to talk again in the morning."
The left-hander, who turns 43 next month, was 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 starts last season, cut short by an elbow injury. Glavine's partially torn elbow tendon was repaired on Aug. 21 by Dr. James Andrews, who also cleaned up Glavine's shoulder.
A 305-game winner, Glavine spent his first 16 major league seasons with the Braves, winning the NL Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998.
The 10-time All-Star pitched for the Mets from 2003-07 and earned his 300th win with New York in 2007 before returning to Atlanta for the 2008 season, when he made $8 million.
Glavine would earn a $1 million bonus when he is placed on the active roster and $1.25 million each for 30 and 90 days on the active roster. The Braves have the ability to defer the $2.5 million from the final two levels.
He is not expected to report to spring training until about March 1, instead continuing his rehab program in the Atlanta area.
The deal with Glavine will be a welcome bit of news in the Braves' camp, still reeling from Ken Griffey Jr.'s decision to sign with the Seattle Mariners.
The 39-year-old Griffey had approached the Braves last week, expressing a desire to finish his career in Atlanta, but apparently had a change of heart. He informed the Braves late Wednesday he was returning to the city where he played his first 11 big league seasons.
Glavine will likely serve as Atlanta's fifth starter behind Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami. The lefty will have some extra time to rehab his elbow and shoulder, since the Braves won't need a fifth starter until April 19 because of days off.
"It would be great to get Tommy back," manager Bobby Cox said. "It's always better to have one more option."
Glavine's return will likely ensure that top prospect Tommy Hanson gets a little more seasoning in the minors. The 22-year-old right-hander has never pitched above Double-A, and the Braves would like him to get at least a half-season at their top farm club.
"There's no question he will benefit from more time in the minor leagues," general manager Frank Wren said. "He will continue to develop and grow from his experiences. Those are not bad things."
Besides, Atlanta was eager to give itself more than enough starting options after the rotation was devastated by injuries a year ago. Besides Glavine, John Smoltz and Tim Hudson also had season-ending surgeries — a major reason the Braves plunged to a 72-90 record, their worst since 1990.
"We thought we had great depth last year," Wren said. "But it's never enough."
Glavine's decision to rejoin the Braves was no surprise. He had kept his home in Atlanta even while playing for the Mets, and had little desire to leave his family again for what could be his final season.
At the Braves' spring training clubhouse, the locker next to third baseman Chipper Jones' stall remained vacant even after workouts began.
"This is Glav's old locker," Jones said. "We're keeping that open for him in case he might sign."