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Braves release Lucas Duda

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The Atlanta Braves have released first baseman Lucas Duda.

Duda just signed a minor league deal with the Braves earlier this month after being released by the Royals. Which makes the second year in a row he went from the Royals to the Braves, having been traded to Atlanta by Kansas City during the 2018 season. Last year that led to 22 plate appearances with the big club but this year the Braves never even bothered to call him up after he went 8-for-57 with one homer over 16 games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He hit .171/.252/.324 with four homers in 119 plate appearances for Kansas City.

The smart money would be this being the end of the line for Duda who, at 33, is a couple of years removed from being a productive major leaguer in anything but the shortest of stretches.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
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On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.