Braves announce non-roster invitees

Braves announce non-roster invitees

ATLANTA -- Veteran infielder Willie Harris headlines the list of six players the Braves will bring to Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

Along with announcing their non-roster invitees late Thursday afternoon, the Braves also announced they have hired Tony DeMacio to serve as an advance scout and special assistant to general manager John Schuerholz.

DeMacio's long tour through the Major Leagues began in 1983, when he was hired by the Braves as an area scout. He kept that role through 1990, and in the process was credited with signing both Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones.

Since then the 61-year-old DeMacio has been employed by the Cubs, Indians, Orioles and Pirates. Some of the notable players he signed for those teams are Manny Ramirez, Kerry Wood, Erik Bedard and Nick Markakis.

The others who will join Harris as non-roster invitees at this year's camp include right-handed pitcher Buddy Carlyle, left-handed pitcher Steve Colyer, outfielder Doug Clark and catchers Iker Franco and Corky Miller.

Harris, who has played in 369 Major League games, will be given a chance to win a roster spot as the starting second baseman or utility infielder. The 28-year-old native of Cairo, Ga., hit .156 in the 45 at-bats he compiled for the Red Sox this past season. Harris spent most of the year at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he batted .220 (48-for-215) and hit eight homers.

Like Harris, Clark will be battling for one of the final roster spots. He and recently acquired T.J. Bohn appear to be the top candidates to serve as a fifth outfielder.

Since making his professional debut in 1998, Clark has appeared in just 14 big-league games. He hit .287 with 15 homers at Triple-A Sacramento this past season. The 54 stolen bases he's totaled over the past two seasons in the Pacific Coast League are a sign he could bring the Braves some of the speed their lineup lacks.

Carlyle made his 1999 Major League debut with the Padres at the ripe age of 21. He made seven starts that year and another four relief appearances for San Diego in 2000. Since playing in Japan during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, the 29-year-old right-hander's Major League experience has been limited to the 10 relief appearances he made in 2005 with the Dodgers.

In the 13 appearances he made at Triple-A Albuquerque this year, Carlyle was 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA.

The 27-year-old Colyer has bounced around the Minor Leagues since making 41 appearances for the Tigers in 2004. Given that he was pitching in the thin Rocky Mountain air, the 5.71 ERA he compiled for Triple-A Colorado Springs isn't too alarming. But the 48 walks he issued in 58 1/3 innings should be viewed as cause for concern.

Miller, who spent some time with the Reds from 2001-04, hit .258 at Pawtucket this year. He will battle Brayan Pena for the backup catcher position.

Franco, who was with the Braves organization in 2005, hit .232 with 10 homers at Double-A Springfield this year. He also will be battling to serve as starting catcher Brian McCann's backup.

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