Braves lose Christian Walker to Reds on waivers

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Braves lose Christian Walker to Reds on waivers

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Christian Walker was claimed off waivers by the Reds from the Braves on Monday, nine days after the Braves had claimed him off waivers from the Orioles. (AP photo)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Nine days after claiming Christian Walker off waivers from the Orioles, the Braves lost the former University of South Carolina slugger Tuesday on a waiver claim by the Reds.

The Braves tried to slip the first baseman-left fielder through waivers at what can be an opportune time, early in spring training when many teams have no room on their 40-man rosters. It didn’t work, as the Reds opened a spot for Walker by designating for assignment the contract of pitcher Jumbo Diaz.

Walker, who’ll turn 26 this month, was 2-for-16 with a home run, a walk and six strikeouts in six Grapefruit League games for the Braves, who had claimed him off waivers in hopes of having him at Triple-A as insurance in case of an injury.

He hit 18 home runs each of the past two seasons at Triple-A Norfolk, and Walker was 4-for-27 with one homer in brief major league stints in 2014 and 2015.

Last season in Triple-A, Walker hit .264 with 49 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs and a .757 OPS in 131 games, making 90 starts in left field and four at first base — his other action came as designated hitter — after playing almost exclusively at first base in his previous four minor league seasons.

A fourth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2012, Walker has a .276 average with 75 home runs, 299 RBIs and a .342 OBP and .791 OPS in 533 minor league games. He hit .288 with a career-best 26 homers in 2014 between Double-A and Triple-A stints.

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