As first reported by beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Reds traded corner infielder Juan Francisco to the Braves on Sunday morning for right-handed starter J.J. Hoover.
Francisco struggled to find consistent playing time over the past few years in Cincinnati because he’s not a great defender at third base and the Reds have one of the best players in baseball covering first.
But the powerful 24-year-old Dominican has batted .304/.337/.559 with 38 home runs, 52 doubles and 128 RBI in 173 career games at the Triple-A level and could be a useful fill-in at the hot corner early this year for Atlanta.
Chipper Jones is out for the first couple weeks of the regular season following minor knee surgery.
Hoover, who is also 24 years old, posted a 2.64 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 117/40 K/BB ratio in 105 2/3 innings last season between Double-A and Triple-A. He was a 10th-round selection in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.