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.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.