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Jose Bautista signs with Braves as third baseman

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This is fun: the Atlanta Braves have signed free agent Jose Bautista to a minor league contract. And they plan to use him as a third baseman.

Bautista has played nearly 400 games at third base in his career, but, while he’s taken a small handful of turns there over the past few seasons, he hasn’t played it regularly for a decade. Bautista will report to the club’s extended spring training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, however, and start taking reps. At age 37, I seriously doubt he’ll be a positive defensive contributor there, but it’s kinda fun, isn’t it?

The point of grabbing Bautista, though, is that he could provide some nearly-free offense. Last year he put up his worse offensive season since his lost, early years in Pittsburgh, but still managed to hit 23 homers. He had an above-average batting line in 2016, however, and was downright valuable in 2015.

Is it likely that he’ll be a solid middle-of-the-order bat now? Nah, but it’s zero risk with at least some potential reward. And kudos to the Braves for at least attempting to think outside of the box and sign a guy who some fans might find enjoyable to watch in the event he can play his way into the lineup.

Khris Davis diagnosed with Grade 1 right groin strain

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Athletics slugger Khris Davis injured his right groin in Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays and an MRI taken Tuesday revealed a Grade 1 strain, per Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle. He is expected to be placed on the disabled list ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Mariners and figures to miss around 2-3 weeks.

Davis has put up an .805 OPS (119 OPS+) with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 47 games this season for the A’s, who are two games above .500 (25-23) largely because of their surprisingly consistent offensive production. Oakland is ninth among all MLB teams in runs scored and the club ranks seventh in combined team OPS (.748), behind only the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, Pirates, and Indians.

It sounds like Franklin Barreto is on his way up from Triple-A Nashville to take Davis’ spot.