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Laird passes physical, joins Braves

ATLANTA -- After Gerald Laird passed his physical on Friday, the Braves officially announced that he will serve as their new backup catcher.

Laird and the Braves agreed to a two-year contract on Thursday. Financial details of the agreement have not been revealed.

With Brian McCann expected to miss at least the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season while recovering from shoulder surgery, the Braves will use Laird as their primary catcher through most of April.

Laird has developed a reputation of being a clubhouse leader who is skilled in the art of handling a pitching staff. Those were a couple of the best attributes that David Ross possessed while serving as Atlanta's backup catcher over the past four years. The Braves gained a need for a backup catcher when Ross signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Red Sox earlier this week.

Laird batted .282 with two home runs and a .710 OPS in 63 games for the Tigers this past season. He proved to be a valuable asset as Detroit's starting catcher Alex Avila battled a number of different injuries this year.

In fact, Laird started eight of the final 17 regular-season games played by the Tigers, who had to finish strong to overtake the White Sox for the American League Central title. The 32-year-old veteran catcher also started six of Detroit's 13 postseason games, marking the second straight season in which he competed in the World Series.

Laird made his Major League debut in 2003, and played each of his first six seasons with the Rangers. He has played three of the past four seasons with the Tigers. His only previous experience in the National League came in 2011, when he helped the Cardinals win the World Series.

Atlanta Braves, Gerald Laird