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#pounditSaturday, May 21, 2022

Braves sign Jose Bautista, plan to use him at third base

Jose Bautista curtain call

The Atlanta Braves have thrown everyone a curveball with the signing of Jose Bautista to a minor-league deal.

The Braves announced the surprising deal on Wednesday with an even more unexpected twist — Bautista will report to extended spring training and begin working at third base.

Alex Anthopoulos, who was part of the Toronto Blue Jays front office that acquired Bautista, is currently GM of the Braves, so the links are there.

Bautista hasn’t played regularly at third base since 2011, though he came up as one when he was much younger. The hope may be that he can eventually take over the hot corner at the MLB level from Ryan Flaherty, who isn’t a permanent solution despite a hot start.

The question is what Bautista’s bat has left to offer. He hit just .203 with 23 home runs for Toronto in 2017, and he had to fend off retirement rumors as recently as last month.

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