Athletics, George Kottaras avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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The Athletics announced late this afternoon that they have avoided arbitration with catcher George Kottaras by agreeing to a one-year contract. Terms aren’t yet available.

Kottaras was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. The 29-year-old earned $700,000 last season while hitting .211/.351/.415 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and a .766 OPS over 85 games between the Brewers and Athletics. He threw out 19 percent (5-for-26) of attempted basestealers.

Derek Norris figures to get most of the playing time behind the plate in 2013, so Kottaras will function as his backup. However, his power and patience is pretty useful to have around.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.