The Braves have found a new first baseman in the wake of Freddie Freeman‘s injury. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Braves have signed James Loney to a minor league contract.
Loney, 33, spent last season with the Mets, hitting .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 366 plate appearances while playing solid defense. He was playing in the minors for the Tigers this season, where he hit .229/.387/.250 in 62 plate appearances. He was released by the Tigers on May 7.
Other first base types were available, but Loney performed well enough last year and still plays good enough defense that he works in a pinch for the Braves. If the Braves promote Loney, he could share time at first base with prospect Rio Ruiz, who was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday.
Mets pitcher Rafael Montero will undergo Tommy John surgery.
Montero felt some discomfort after his latest Grapefruit League appearance. This morning he was diagnosed with a complete tear of the UCL in his right elbow. He’ll now miss all of the 2018 season and most of the first half of the 2019 season.
Montero, 27, was once a top pitching prospect. He performed swingman duties for the Mets last year, starting in 18 games and relieving in 16. He wasn’t too successful in that role — his ERA was 5.52 in 2017 — but he was battling for a spot in the Mets’ bullpen this spring.