Third baseman Jose Bautista, whom the Braves signed to a minor league contract this week, could join the team during its upcoming road trip, Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes. The Braves will be out of Atlanta from April 23 through May 3, and Bautista will begin that period at Triple-A Gwinnett. A longtime superstar outfielder with the Blue Jays, Bautista has looked good at third with the Braves thus far, according to infield instructor Adam Everett. The 37-year-old played a bit of third in 2017, though he hasn’t lined up there on any kind of regular basis since 2011.
Here’s more from the NL:
- Reds legend Barry Larkin “has always coveted” their managerial job, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Now that the team has fired previous skipper Bryan Price and is currently going with an interim option in Jim Riggleman, it’s possible Larkin will emerge as a candidate when the Reds’ search for a full-time skipper begins in earnest. Larkin, a Hall of Fame shortstop with the Reds from 1986-2004, currently works with the team as a special assistant. Former major league skipper and ex-Red Buddy Bell is also under Cincinnati’s employ (as a senior adviser), but the 66-year-old is uninterested in managing the club, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter.
- The Diamondbacks are tentatively planning to activate third baseman Jake Lamb from the disabled list on Tuesday, though Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic) that Lamb would need one final evaluation from the team training staff. Lamb hasn’t played since April 2 due to a shoulder injury, though his absence hasn’t seemed to faze the Diamondbacks, who have gone 13-5 without him. Third base fill-ins Daniel Descalso and Deven Marrero have struggled, however.
- We’re in an era in which batters are attempting to hit the ball in the air, so Phillies pitchers are trying to combat that by throwing up in the zone, Matt Gelb of The Athletic explains (subscription required). The plan has worked so far for Philadelphia, whose pitchers entered Sunday having allowed the majors’ fewest home runs (11) and its second-lowest slugging percentage against (.320). “A huge focus in spring training was pitching at the top of the strike zone,” said catcher Andrew Kapp. “We were doing a really good job of that. And these guys are just hitting their spots. All we’re doing behind the plate is just suggesting: ’Hey, this is where we think we should go.’ But they have to hit the spot at the end of the day.” Phillies pitchers hit the spot once again Sunday, yielding just two runs and seven hits in an 11-inning win over the Pirates.