Kotsay lands on DL

Kotsay lands on DL

CINCINNATI -- Even though he felt like he was realizing some improvement, Mark Kotsay was never able to convince himself or the Braves that his back wasn't going to continue giving him problems for at least another week.

The Braves placed Kotsay on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and recalled Josh Anderson from Triple-A Richmond on Friday. Anderson was with Atlanta as it began a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ballpark.

"It wasn't my idea to get a chance because somebody got hurt," Anderson said. "But an opportunity is an opportunity, and I'm thankful that I've got it."

When the Braves arrived in Cincinnati on Thursday night, Kotsay flew to Atlanta to be evaluated by the club's medical personnel. Results of an MRI scan performed on Friday haven't been revealed.

Kotsay began feeling some tightness in his lower back on Monday and has missed the past four games. When he was unable to take swings in the batting cage before Thursday afternoon's game in Milwaukee, the Braves decided it would be best to allow him to rest his troublesome back..

"He's not going to really be able to do anything for another week or two and really let it go," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Kotsay, who was hitting .298, played in a career-low 56 games after having back surgery in March of last year. Earlier this week, he said he knew there would come a time this year when his back would force him to miss some time. But before this week, he hadn't had any alarming problems with his lower back.

It was the second time in the past week that the Braves had placed an outfielder on the disabled list. Matt Diaz was lost for four-to-six weeks on Tuesday, when he partially tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

With Kotsay and Diaz out of the lineup, Anderson and Gregor Blanco will likely see a majority of the playing time in left field and center field. Both of them are considered above average center fielders.

But instead of using this combination on Friday night, Cox instead opted to give Greg Norton a chance to get comfortable in left field. Norton, who has two hits in his past 23 at-bats, has made 77 career appearances as an outfielder and five of those have come since he joined the Braves on May 6.

Anderson, who was acquired in a November trade with the Astros, was considered a favorite to be the Braves' center fielder until Kotsay was acquired from the A's in January. The 25-year-old speedy outfielder was hitting .282 with 13 stolen bases for Richmond.

"He can do a lot for you," Cox said of Anderson, who has recorded at least 40 stolen bases during each of his past four Minor League seasons.

When Anderson learned on Thursday he was getting a call to the Majors, his parents eagerly anticipated making the two-hour drive to Cincinnati from their home in eastern Kentucky. He expected they'd be joined some more citizens of his hometown of Eubank, which he estimates has a population of 360 people.

While he hit .358 in 21 September games with the Astros last year, Anderson had a chance to play in Cincinnati and in front of what he thinks might have been 300 members from his hometown. For Friday night's game, he was planning to buy just eight tickets for friends and family members.

"It's good to be back and see all of these guys," Anderson said.

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