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Braves to call up Jose Bautista tonight

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves are expected to call up Jose Bautista before tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

Bautista signed a minor league deal with the Braves last month and, though he started slow in the minors, has begun to heat up a bit in recent days. An old man needs his reps, right? Bautista, originally a third baseman but a long time corner outfielder, will return to third base duties for Atlanta. Should be interesting to watch at least.

 

After breaking out as a major star for the Blue Jays between 2010 to 2015, Bautista struggled last year, hitting just .203 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI. The Braves are hoping there is still something left in the tank, though, as their third base situation is a bit less-than-settled in 2018.

Ryan Flaherty has handled most of the third base duties this year, hitting .310/.406/.437 with two home runs, nine RBI and three stolen bases, but that is WAY WAY above his usual level of production and it’d be unreasonable to expect him to keep that up for the next five months. Charlie Culberson has also featured in the mix, but he’s really a utility guy at best. Same with Johan Camargo who, while primarily a third baseman last year, has played far more shortstop in the minors and is currently filling in for the slightly banged up Dansby Swanson.

The Braves have open space on the 40-man roster, so when they select Bautista’s contract they won’t need to make room there, but they will have to make room on the 25-man roster. It remains to be seen who will be moved to make room.

Yankees, Brett Gardner reunite on one-year, $12.5 million deal

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George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.

Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, the Yankees also value Gardner — a veteran of 12 seasons — for his leadership, especially with CC Sabathia and Didi Gregorius gone.

Bringing Gardner back into the fold allows Giancarlo Stanton to remain the full-time DH. Gardner will return to left field with Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge reprising their roles in center and right, respectively.