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03/28/08 5:18 PM ET

Braves pick up Gotay from Mets

Atlanta hopes infielder can provide hits off the bench

ATLANTA -- Looking for a bat off the bench, the Braves claimed switch-hitter Ruben Gotay off waivers from the New York Mets on Friday.

Gotay, 25, batted .295 in 98 games with the Mets last season, hitting four home runs and driving in 24.

Most important for the Braves, the infielder batted .318 against right-handers and had a .288 average (15-for-52) as a pinch-hitter.

"He's a good hitter," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We needed someone who we could send up there to get a hit off the bench against a righty. He should help us."

To make room for Gotay, the Braves outrighted first baseman Scott Thorman, who had cleared waivers, to Triple-A Richmond.

Thorman, 26, started last season as the Braves' regular first baseman, but batted just .216. He had 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 120 games.

Gotay is primarily a second baseman, although he can fill in at shortstop and third base.

The Braves will open the season with Gotay and Martin Prado as their backup infielders. Omar Infante will begin on the disabled list as he continues his recovery from a broken hand sustained while playing Winter Ball. He should be ready to play by May.

Gotay was drafted by Kansas City in 2000 and played in 130 games for the Royals in 2004 and 2005, batting .242 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 434 at-bats.

Gotay was traded to the Mets in 2006 and made his National League debut last season. He batted .310 from May 29 to the end of the season, including a .397 average in July.

Left-hander Tom Glavine, re-signed by the Braves as a free agent after five years in New York, played with Gotay last season. "Tommy likes him a lot as a hitter," Cox said.

Gotay, who batted .235 with a homer and two RBIs this spring, was beaten out in New York by veterans Marlon Anderson and Damion Easley, who won the backup infield jobs with the Mets.

Thorman hit .176 with two homers and 10 RBIs this spring. His career Major League average is .222.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.