The bad news keeps piling up for the Braves. B.J. Upton had to exit tonight’s game against the Reds in the first inning after straining his right abductor muscle on a dive attempt. Justin Upton had to leave with a strained left calf after the end of the bottom of the seventh inning. He had come up limping a bit after grounding out to shortstop to lead off the inning. Reed Johnson, who had moved from right field to center after B.J. left, moved back to right field and Tylor Pastornicky took over in center field for Justin.
Justin Upton entered the night with a .255/.353/.463 slash line, but since a hot April that had him in early MVP discussions, he has hit .237/.333/.353 since May 1.
The Braves also learned that x-rays on outfielder Jordan Schafer’s right ankle revealed a stress fracture. David O’Brien says Schafer will likely be out six weeks. He is in his second week out of action, though he suffered the injury on June 26.
If you’re counting, that is four injured outfielders, three in the last two nights. While the Phillies had their game postponed and the Nationals lost to the Marlins 8-3, the Braves lost to the Reds tonight 4-2.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.