Braves activate outfielder B.J. Upton from disabled list

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After missing three weeks with a right adductor strain, Braves outfielder B.J. Upton has been activated from the disabled list.

Upton was cleared to return after going 4-for-12 (.333) with three doubles and two RBI over three rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett. Per Mark Bowman of MLB.com, he’ll start in center field and bat seventh later today against the Phillies.

Upton has been a big disappointment since signing a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves over the winter, batting just .177/.266/.300 over 84 games. His .565 OPS is second-lowest among players with at least 300 plate appearances, behind only Jeff Keppinger of the White Sox. The Braves haven’t missed Upton at all lately, as they’ll come into today’s game on an eight-game winning streak. They have scored 56 runs in that span.

To make room for Upton on the active roster, the Braves placed catcher Gerald Laird on the 15-day disabled list. The 33-year-old is still in recovery mode after having a kidney stone removed earlier this week.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.