Atlanta Braves call up 3B Jose Bautista from minors

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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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