Braves cut ties with former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista

The Atlanta Braves on Sunday released former Blue Jays outfielder/third baseman Jose Bautista, one month after signing the former slugger to a minor league contract. The 37-year-old hit .143 with two home runs in 12 games with the Braves.

Struggles defensively at 3rd base, .143 average led to 37-year-old's release

The Braves released third baseman/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, citing his struggles at the hot corner and .143 batting average. The 37-year-old also hit two home runs in 35 at-bats after clubbing a career-best 54 homers for the Blue Jays in 2010. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Jose Bautista is looking for work again.

Signed by former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos in April, the former Toronto slugger was released by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Anthopoulos said Bautista would look for a job elsewhere but has a standing offer from the Braves to return to triple-A Gwinnett to get at-bats.

Bautista, who signed a minor league deal with Atlanta in April, struggled defensively at third base with the big club and posted a .143 batting average, two home runs and a .250 on-base percentage in 12 games. He also struck out 12 times in 35 at-bats.

"We agreed, for him, if there wasn't going to be at-bats here and there wasn't going to be playing time here, that it was not right for him," Anthopolous said Sunday.

Signing the 37-year-old former outfielder — Bautista received $1 million US for being added to the 40-man major league roster — was a low-risk move by the Braves, who were using Ryan Flaherty and Johan Camargo primarily at third base before Bautista's arrival. Camargo will now get the bulk of playing time, according to Anthopoulos.

Bautista went unsigned over the winter after hitting .203 in 157 games last season in Toronto with 23 home runs and 63 runs batted in while making $18 million on a one-year contract.

A six-time all-star, Bautista hit at least 22 homers in each of the previous eight seasons, including a career-high 54 for the Blue Jays in 2010. He also reached the 100-RBI mark four times.

Camargo, a 24-year-old switch-hitter from Panama, was the front-runner to win the job in spring training before suffering an oblique (rib cage) injury that sidelined him for the first 16 games.

Camargo has a .284 career average with six homers and 40 RBIs in 106 games. He filled in at shortstop and didn't hit that well when Dansby Swanson missed 13 games with left wrist inflammation, but he is hitting .292 in his last 24 at-bats and is an upgrade defensively over Bautista.

"If you look at the surface stats — when Dansby was out they weren't all that good — the more that we looked at some things, there were some really good indicators that he might be able to perform a lot better than that," Anthopolous said. "Some exit velocities, bad luck and things like that. Some of the decision making was very good on his part."

The Braves recalled right-hander Lucas Sims from Gwinnett to replace Bautista on the roster.

About the Author

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Associated Press


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