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02/19/10 5:11 PM EST

Braves near deal for Dominican Salcedo

Atlanta becomes front-runner for highly-regarded shortstop

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves appear to be nearing a deal for highly-regarded Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo.

A Braves source said Friday afternoon that the club is "close" to signing the 6-foot-3, 190-pound shortstop. Earlier in the day, a report by The Associated Press out of the Dominican Republic quoted the 18-year-old shortstop's agent as saying Atlanta currently ranks as the front-runner to sign his client. But Mercedes added that they are still listening to offers from other clubs.

This report also indicated that the Braves have applied for a visa that would allow Salcedo to travel to their Spring Training headquarters for further evaluation.

The AP also reported that the $2.3 million agreement with the Indians in 2007 was nullified when the United States raised suspicions about Salcedo's claim that he was born in 1989.

At the Braves' request, Major League Baseball has reportedly performed an investigation and determined that Salcedo was born in 1991.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.