The Atlanta Braves appear interested in adding Johnny Damon to the top of their lineup.
The Braves have made an offer to the free-agent outfielder, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no agreement had been reached.
Atlanta’s offer is believed to be for one year and include deferred money. Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, has said he is seeking at least a two-year deal.
Damon, 36, hit .286 with 24 homers for the New York Yankees last season and likely would bat leadoff for the Braves.
Atlanta added another former Yankees outfielder in December when it acquired Melky Cabrera in a five-player deal that sent right-hander Javier Vazquez to the World Series champions.
Nate McLouth is set as Atlanta’s starter in center field, and is the probable leadoff hitter if the team does not add Damon or another outfielder. Matt Diaz is expected to get most of the playing time at one corner outfield spot.
The Braves’ willingness to give 20-year-old outfield prospect Jason Heyward an opportunity to win a job in spring training could keep them from engaging in a bidding war for Damon. According to reports, Detroit and Tampa Bay also have interest.
Heyward (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) has the power potential the Braves need in their outfield.
Boras did not return a call to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Braves general manager Frank Wren had no comment on Damon.
M’s sign reliever Colomé
The Seattle Mariners have signed right-hander Jesus Colomé to a minor league contract with an invitation to their spring training camp.
Colomé, 32, appeared in 21 games last season with the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. He will compete to be a setup man for closer David Aardsma.
Colomé has pitched in the major leagues each of the last nine seasons. He is 19-26 with a 4.66 earned-run average in 328 relief appearances.
He pitched in 61 games with the Nationals in 2007 and 2008, going 7-3 with a 4.07 ERA.
Seattle also outrighted right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit to Triple-A Tacoma. Petit was designated for assignment on Feb. 6 to make room on the 40-man roster for Erik Bedard.
The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, claimed right-hander Gaby Hernandez off waivers from the Mariners. Hernandez, 23, was 10-9 with a 5.23 ERA in 26 starts for the Tacoma Rainiers last season. He was 5-0 in his last five starts.
The San Francisco Giants and free-agent right-hander Todd Wellemeyer, 31, agreed to a minor league contract. The 13-game winner for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008 will get the opportunity to compete for the No. 5 starter spot. If he’s added to the Giants’ 40-man roster, he would get a $1 million, one-year contract with the chance to earn another $500,000 in performance bonuses. … The Houston Astros have signed right-handed pitchers Yorman Bazardo (400,000), Evan Englebrook ($400,000) and Jeff Fulchino ($425,000) to one-year contracts and hired retired pitcher Doug Brocail as an advisor. … St. Louis Cardinals infielder Brendan Ryan has had arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist. The Cardinals said he is expected to be ready for the start of the season.