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Minor Moves for the week of November 14-22

The Braves signed five Minor League free agents last week; C Iker Franco, C Corky Miller, LHP Steve Colyer, RHP Carl Hernandez, and RHP Tony Pierce.

Carl Hernandez is better known to most as Buddy Hernandez, the impressive right-handed reliever who was selected in the Rule 5 draft in December of 2002, but returned to the Braves the following spring. Buddy has been stuck at triple-A ever since then, and was considered a challenger for the Braves bullpen at the beginning of 2005. Despite having a decent spring that year, he was sent to the Minors only to get injured and miss most of 2005 and all of 2006. I can't find what injury he suffered, if anyone knows please post in the comments section, but when a player, especially a pitcher, misses a year and a half it is usually because of Tommy John surgery.

An interesting addition to the organization is Tony Pierce, who was a solid reliever/closer for the Pensacola Pelicans of the independent league American Association. He was originally signed by the Braves back in 1999 as a non-drafted free agent, and is now trying to resurrect his career at age 30. Pierce finished the 2006 season with a 1.83 ERA and 21 saves. He struck-out 53 batters and walked 21 in 34 1-3 innings of relief. The Braves signed a similar pitcher last year named Ben Grezlovski, after he had a similarly impressive year for an independent league team, only to release him during the spring. These guys usually don't pan out, but every once in a while you find a Kerry Ligtenberg.

Steve Colyer is a no-frills triple-A reliever with a couple cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2003 and the Tigers the following year. Iker Franco is a backup Minor League catcher who was with the Braves in 2005, and spent last season at the double-A affiliate of the Cardinals. Corky Miller is another a career third catcher who has spent time with the Reds, Twins, and Red Sox. He has shown an average amount of pop in his bat during his Minor League stints, and may challenge Brayan Pena for the backup catcher job next spring, but will likely start the year at Richmond and serve as the first catcher called in case of injury in Atlanta.

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