Mondesi says he reached agreement with Braves
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Raul Mondesi said he has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Braves on a one-year contract.
Mondesi told The Associated Press that he will earn $1 million, and that the deal includes performance bonuses that could bring the total value up to $1.7 million.
"I will travel to Atlanta tonight to take a physical early Friday, and the deal will be official afterward," Mondesi said Thursday.
According to Braves spokesman Brad Hainje, assistant general manager Frank Wren said the team could not confirm an agreement with Mondesi has been reached.
"We don't have any news on Mondesi," Hainje said. "There are a number of players we're talking to. I don't know if Mondesi is one of them.
"He has not signed with us, and we don't have plans for an announcement today."
Mondesi said he chose Atlanta over Baltimore because the Braves offered him the starting right field position. That spot opened when J.D. Drew signed a $55 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"The Orioles offered more money, but they didn't guarantee a regular spot on the team," Mondesi said. "I'm still a young man that can do many things on the field.
Mondesi began the season with the Pirates, who terminated his contract on May 19 -- just 12 days after he left the team to return to his native Dominican Republic to fight a lawsuit.
Mondesi, who claimed he was fearful for his family's safety, contested a lawsuit by former major leaguer Mario Guerrero, a fellow Dominican who said Mondesi promised him 1 percent of his major league earnings for helping develop his skills.
"That won't happen again," Mondesi said. "The Braves are already warned about Guerrero's attempts to ruin my life."
The Angels terminated Mondesi's contract after he failed to show up for a rehabilitation appointment following a leg injury. Mondesi was placed on the disabled list because of a torn right quadriceps just 11 days after signing with Anaheim. The contract was to pay him $1.75 million for the rest of the season.
He played only eight games with Anaheim, going 4-for-34.
Mondesi's last game was a 17-inning affair against Milwaukee on June 8, when he hurt himself while running out a grounder in the fifth inning. He kept playing until he grounded out for the final out of Anaheim's 1-0 loss.
Mondesi left the Pirates after the team retained his first two paychecks because of the lawsuit.
"I'll try to think that there's nothing else in life besides my job," he said.
Mondesi, the 1994 NL rookie of the year with Los Angeles, has a career .275 average, with 267 home runs and 843 RBIs in 12 seasons.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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