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Dansby Swanson will likely not be on the Braves NLDS roster

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The Braves will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in the NLDS, with action kicking off on Thursday. That action will be kicking off without Dansby Swanson, however.

Swanson is still dealing with ligament damage in his left hand suffered in a game a week ago against the Mets. It’s a serious injury, the type which you would normally expect to put a player on the disabled list for a good while if it occurred earlier in the season, but the Braves and Swanson were holding out hope. He took some swings over the weekend and felt pain. He was scheduled to take swings again yesterday, but he didn’t even bother. All of that points to him not being ready for Thursday’s game. Brian Snitker will not want to be shorthanded for the best-of-five series, so expect Swanson not to be on the NLDS roster. I’d guess that he’d not be available for the NLCS either, should the Braves advance that far.

That means former Dodger Charlie Culberson will play short. Culberson’s bat has been better than Swanson’s all year, and it’s unlikely that who is playing short for Atlanta will be a top-3 determining factor in how they fare in the series, but it’s certainly the case that the Braves will take a defensive hit without Swanson at short.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.