Braves acquire Juan Francisco from Reds for J.J. Hoover

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As first reported by beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Reds traded corner infielder Juan Francisco to the Braves on Sunday morning for right-handed starter J.J. Hoover.

Francisco struggled to find consistent playing time over the past few years in Cincinnati because he’s not a great defender at third base and the Reds have one of the best players in baseball covering first.

But the powerful 24-year-old Dominican has batted .304/.337/.559 with 38 home runs, 52 doubles and 128 RBI in 173 career games at the Triple-A level and could be a useful fill-in at the hot corner early this year for Atlanta.

Chipper Jones is out for the first couple weeks of the regular season following minor knee surgery.

Hoover, who is also 24 years old, posted a 2.64 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 117/40 K/BB ratio in 105 2/3 innings last season between Double-A and Triple-A. He was a 10th-round selection in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.