Braves activate outfielder B.J. Upton from disabled list

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After missing three weeks with a right adductor strain, Braves outfielder B.J. Upton has been activated from the disabled list.

Upton was cleared to return after going 4-for-12 (.333) with three doubles and two RBI over three rehab games with Triple-A Gwinnett. Per Mark Bowman of MLB.com, he’ll start in center field and bat seventh later today against the Phillies.

Upton has been a big disappointment since signing a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves over the winter, batting just .177/.266/.300 over 84 games. His .565 OPS is second-lowest among players with at least 300 plate appearances, behind only Jeff Keppinger of the White Sox. The Braves haven’t missed Upton at all lately, as they’ll come into today’s game on an eight-game winning streak. They have scored 56 runs in that span.

To make room for Upton on the active roster, the Braves placed catcher Gerald Laird on the 15-day disabled list. The 33-year-old is still in recovery mode after having a kidney stone removed earlier this week.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is still locked up, thanks to a team option that will almost certainly be exercised, through 2020, and Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.