ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves shored up their outfield Sunday after being spurned by Ken Griffey Jr., reaching a preliminary agreement with Garret Anderson on a one-year deal.
Anderson is expected to undergo a physical on Monday or Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been finalized.
The Braves thought Griffey was going to join them Wednesday but he decided to return to the Seattle Mariners, where he started his career. The jilted Braves were surprised by Griffey’s decision but they bounced back quickly with the acquisition of Anderson, who hit .293 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs in 145 games with the Los Angeles Angels last year.
Anderson joins an outfield that produced only 27 homers last season, worst in the majors. He could platoon in left with the righty-hitting Matt Diaz.
A three-time All-Star, Anderson had spent his entire career with the Angels and holds several franchise records, including games played (2,013), runs scored (1,024), hits (2,368), doubles (489), total bases (3,743) and RBIs (1,292). He ranks second in home runs (272) and career batting average (.296).
Anderson helped the Angels win the World Series in 2002, hitting .300 with two homers and 13 RBIs in the postseason. Los Angeles declined to pick up his $14 million option after last season, instead paying a $3 million buyout.
The Braves are counting on Anderson to provide steady play in an outfield full of question marks.
Right fielder Jeff Francoeur, a once-budding star, looked totally lost while batting .239 with 11 homers and 71 RBIs last year. But he hit 29 homers in 2006 and had more than 100 RBIs each of his first two full seasons.
Diaz batted only .244 last season and was limited to 43 games after tearing up his left knee in May.
In center, Josh Anderson appears to have the edge after batting .294 with 10 stolen bases in limited time last season. Gregor Blanco and Jordan Schafer also will get long looks.