Atlanta Braves call up 3B Jose Bautista from minors


Jose Bautista has been called up from the minors and will be in the Atlanta Braves‘ starting lineup at third base when the team begins a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at SunTrust Park, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Bautista, 37, has 331 home runs in a 14-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and three other clubs. He hit .203 with a .674 OPS and 23 homers in 157 games with Toronto last season.

Bautista went unsigned as a free agent for the entire offseason before agreeing to a minor league deal on April 18 that will pay him a base salary of $1 million in the big leagues.

He will play third base for Atlanta even though he’s been an outfielder almost exclusively since 2011.

Bautista hit .256 (11-for-43) in his tuneup with Triple-A Gwinnett, but he was 6-for-15 with a home run in his past five games.

With Ryan Flaherty logging the bulk of the time at third base, Atlanta leads the National League with a .302 batting average and ranks third with an .856 OPS at the position. Flaherty is expected to slide into a utility role to make room for Bautista in the batting order.

The Braves are in the midst of a five-game win streak and took over first place in the NL East with a three-game sweep of the Mets in New York this week.

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