Braves acquire Norton from Mariners
Utilityman could add punch off the bench; Prado out six weeks
ATLANTA -- Braves general manager Frank Wren's long search for a veteran bench player has concluded with the acquisition of Greg Norton.
The Braves announced Monday that they've acquired Norton from the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Unfortunately that wasn't the only news to announce relating to their bench.
Martin Prado suffered a badly sprained left thumb while sliding into first base on Sunday and will consequently miss the next six to eight weeks. While he's on the disabled list, Ruben Gotay will serve as the primary backup middle infielder and Norton will become the team's primary pinch-hitter.
"We wanted to improve the bench a little bit, and Norton is somebody we've been looking at since Spring Training," said Wren after acquiring the 35-year-old switch-hitting infielder, who has batted .253 during his 12-season Major League carer.
When the Braves weren't able to get Norton, they opted to roll the dice on Scott Spiezio. Once Spiezio was unable to control his substance abuse problems, Wren continued his search, renewing his attention back on Norton after he became a roster casualty in Seattle last week.
Norton was designated for assignment last week when the Mariners opted to promote two of their top prospects. This transaction was certainly not based on lack of production. He recorded seven hits in the 16 at-bats he had for the Mariners after being promoted from Triple-A Tacoma.
While beginning this season with Tacoma, Norton had nine hits in 22 at-bats. His early-season success has been a continuation of the way he ended last season, when in his final 32 games with the Rays, he hit .317 (26-for-82).
Norton, who will be primarily used as a corner infielder, enjoyed his finest big-league season in 2006, when he hit .296 with 17 homers and a .520 slugging percentage for the Rays. He was forced to miss the first six weeks of last season because of knee surgery, and struggled until August.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Norton, who has batted .235 with 10 homers in 289 career pinch-hit at-bats, the Braves moved Peter Moylan to the 60-day disabled list. Moylan will visit Dr. James Andrews later this week and at that time, he may have his elbow repaired via Tommy John elbow ligament transplant surgery.
If all goes as expected and he undergoes that surgery, Moylan will likely be unavailable for 12-14 months.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.