Our Fredi is learning. B.J. Upton, mired in, well, it can’t really be called a “slump” when it’s his whole season, is riding pine against the Nationals tonight. In his place in center field: Jason Heyward. Evan Gattis will be in left and Justin Upton in right.
Counting tonight, Upton has been benched five times in the Braves last seven games. And in the two games he started he went 0 for 6 with five strikeouts. Overall this year he’s “hitting” .136/.232/.247 with 62 strikeouts in 158 at bats.
He’s in the first year of a five-year, $75 million deal. If the Braves weren’t in first place I figure he’d be getting way more pub than he is for stinking as bad as he has.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.