Braves set to place Nate McLouth on DL, call up Jordan Schafer

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Nate McLouth’s strained left oblique will put him on the disabled list, according to the Journal-Constitution’s Dave O’Brien, and the Braves are set to call up Jordan Schafer to replace him.

Schafer, who opened 2009 as the Braves’ center fielder, is back in the majors for the first time since June of that year.  There was plenty of hype this spring that with Schafer finally healthy, he’d overtake McLouth as a regular at some point this season.  However, he failed to perform well in March and he was hitting just .256/.309/.323 with one homer in 164 at-bats for Triple-A Gwinnett.

That makes McLouth a pretty big loss, even if he was hitting a modest .238/.332/.341 in 164 major league at-bats.   The Braves don’t have another legitimate center fielder on the roster, so Schafer figures to get a chance to play everyday in the McLouth’s absence.  The team is in better position to cover Jason Heyward’s absence, with Eric Hinske and Joe Mather likely to platoon in right field.  Wilkin Ramirez will serve as the fifth outfielder.

Source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.