Evan Gattis cleared to begin rehab assignment

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Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who almost surely would have made the All-Star team if not for being on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back, has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the plan is for Gattis to play designated hitter Thursday and spend at least 3-4 games at Triple-A overall before potentially coming off the disabled list next week.

Gattis has been out since June 27. He was having a huge year before the injury, hitting .290 with 16 homers and a .900 OPS in 63 games. Among all players with at least 50 games at catcher this season only Devin Mesoraco of the Reds has a higher slugging percentage or OPS than Gattis, who’s homered 37 times through his first 168 career games after debuting as a 26-year-old last season.

Blue Jays could move Jaime Garcia to bullpen

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Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.

Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.

Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.