Russell Branyan makes the Diamondbacks

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This decision was something of a no-brainer, but according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Russell Branyan will be on the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster.

Branyan, who could have opted out of his minor league contract yesterday, is batting .420 (21-for-50) with four home runs, three doubles and 17 RBI this spring.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson likes what he’s seeing from his new slugger, but he isn’t ready to say where Branyan will fit in his lineup.

“Haven’t determined that yet,” he said. “(Branyan) may, he may not (get his share of starts). I don’t know what to tell you about how the mix will go.”

The most likely scenario is that Branyan will share at-bats with Juan Miranda at first base. Brandon Allen, who has options remaining, could be sent to Triple-A Reno.

Branyan, 35, batted .237/.323/.487 with 25 homers and 57 RBI over 428 plate appearances between the Indians and Mariners last season. Assuming he can stay healthy, he’s going to enjoy life in Chase Field.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.