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Free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig, Braves reach 1-year deal

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Cleveland Indians’ Yasiel Puig watches his three-run double off of Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Cole Irvin during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Cleveland in 2019. The free agent outfielder and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the deal said today.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Cleveland Indians’ Yasiel Puig watches his three-run double off of Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Cole Irvin during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Cleveland in 2019. The free agent outfielder and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the deal said today.

ATLANTA >> Free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the deal said today.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement is not official until Puig passes a physical.

The agreement helps the Braves address a depth problem in their outfield.

Puig hit a combined .267 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019. He also stole 19 bases.

The 29-year-old Puig was the last big-name free agent from the offseason who had not signed with a team.

Puig, from Cuba, made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013. He hit .263 with a career-high 28 homers for the Dodgers in 2017 and added 23 homers in 125 games in 2018.

The NL East champion Braves were facing a depth problem in their outfield even after signing Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal in the offseason.

Veteran Nick Markakis opted out of the season before summer camp. Ozuna or Adam Duvall could be needed as the designated hitter in the shortened 60-game season.

The team’s shortage of outfielders was highlighted when rookie Cristian Pache jammed his right ankle in Monday night’s intrasquad game and was not available on Tuesday.

“We’re thin a little bit,” manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. “We started this thing feeling really good about the depth and we’ve used all of it already as I think a lot of teams have. We’re stretched a little bit.”

If Ozuna is the primary designated hitter, Puig could join Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ender Inciarte in a starting outfield.

Duvall, who has been most productive against left-handers, and Markakis may have split time before Markakis opted out. Puig, who has a .285 career average against right-handers, will be expected to replace the production that had been expected from Markakis.

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