Braves exercise 2004 option on RHP Ortiz

Updated: November 4, 2003, 9:22 AM ET

ATLANTA - As expected, the Atlanta Braves exercised the 2004 option on the contract of ace Russ Ortiz.

At $5.7 million, Ortiz is indeed a bargain after leading the National League with 21 wins this past season. The righthander also will receive bonuses if he exceeds 195 innings.

"It's really pretty uneventful," Ortiz said. "I mean this is something that I expected. But at the same time it's still exciting to get it done."

The 29-year-old Ortiz became the ace in his first season with the Braves, outpitching four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux, who has filed for free agency, and Mike Hampton.

A candidate for the 2003 Cy Young Award, Ortiz went 21-8 with a 3.81 ERA. In 212 innings, he allowed 177 hits and struck out 149.

"He was a horse all year long," said Braves manager Bobby Cox.

Ortiz earned his 20th win while tossing his second career shutout on September 19 against the world champion Florida Marlins.

Ortiz spent his first five seasons with the San Francisco Giants and went 67-44 with a 4.01 ERA. He beat Atlanta twice in the 2002 National League Division Series before being acquired by the Braves last December.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index