Braves announcer Ernie Johnson dies at age 87

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Ernie Johnson Sr., a former major league pitcher better known for his long tenure in the broadcast booth with the Braves, passed away Friday night at age 87.

Johnson went 40-23 in a nine-year major league career spent mostly with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves.  Primarily a middle reliever before such a role got much attention, he finished his career with 19 saves and a 3.77 ERA.  He had his best year in 1953, the Braves’ first in Milwaukee, went he amassed a 2.67 ERA in 81 innings.  He  followed that up with a 2.81 ERA in 99 1/3 innings in 1954.  Also, he allowed one run over seven innings in the Braves’ 1957 World Series victory over the Yankees.

But it was his second career for which he’ll long be remembered.  Johnson worked with the Braves from 1962-99, doing both play-by-play and color.  Even after his retirement, he spent at least one series in the Atlanta booth in each of the next several seasons.  He worked with his son, Ernie Johnson Jr., in the SportSouth booth from 1993-96, and the Braves inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2001.

Report: Rangers sign Jeff Mathis to two-year deal

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The Rangers have signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year contract, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.

Mathis turns 36 years old at the end of March and has a career .564 OPS across 14 seasons, but he is well-regarded for his defense and ability to handle a pitching staff.

The arrival of Mathis could mean the Rangers are moving on from Robinson Chirinos behind the plate, as he is now a free agent. The Rangers could go after another catcher to complement Mathis or just have Isiah Kiner-Falefa back up Mathis. Though Kiner-Falefa mostly played elsewhere, including three spots across the infield, he did rack up over 300 defensive innings behind the plate in 2018.