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Jose Veras

Jose Veras returns to the Astros on a minor league deal

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Released by the Braves during spring training, veteran reliever Jose Veras has signed a minor-league deal with the Astros.

Veras spent the second half of last season with the Astros and pitched well with a 3.03 ERA and 37/16 K/BB ratio in 33 innings, but he never gained much traction as a 34-year-old free agent.

Veras has a 3.91 career ERA, including a 3.70 ERA with 322 strikeouts in 295 innings since 2010, so it’s somewhat surprising that it took this long for a team to grab him as a potential middle relief option.

For now he’ll head to extended spring training.

Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez returns from back injury

Aramis Ramirez
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Aramis Ramirez is starting at third base and batting fifth for the Brewers tonight, returning to the lineup after missing six straight games with a back injury.

Ramirez’s overall numbers are ugly this season, which is worrisome at age 37, but he was actually starting to heat up a bit before the injury and raised his OPS by nearly 300 points in two weeks.

In his absence the Brewers turned to Elian Herrera at third base, but the 30-year-old journeyman will return to a bench role.

Padres clear Melvin Upton to begin a rehab assignment

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Melvin Upton has been on the disabled list all season with a foot injury after being included in the Craig Kimbrel trade between the Braves and Padres purely for salary considerations, but now he’s ready to start playing again.

Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Upton will begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A this weekend, noting that it’s expected to be “lengthy” and at least 40-50 at-bats.

Upton, who changed his name from B.J. this year, is in the third season of a five-year, $75 million deal. Atlanta gave up on him after Upton hit just .198 with a .593 OPS and 324 strikeouts in 267 games through the first two years of the contract, looking totally washed up before age 30.

Once healthy he’ll fill a part-time role for the Padres, who’re no doubt just hoping to get some backup-caliber production out of the once-promising center fielder.