Adeiny Hechavarria signs with Japanese team

Braves second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria throws to first base after fielding a ground out by Philadelphia Phillies' Jean Segura during the second inning of the first baseball game in a doubleheader, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Credit: AP

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Braves second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria throws to first base after fielding a ground out by Philadelphia Phillies' Jean Segura during the second inning of the first baseball game in a doubleheader, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Credit: AP

After playing 51 games for the Braves across the past two seasons, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria is joining the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball. The signing was announced earlier this week.

The Braves signed Hechavarria late in the 2019 season after he was designated for assignment by the Mets. Shortstop Dansby Swanson was injured and Johan Camargo was struggling, prompting Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos to take a flyer on Hechavarria.

Hechavarria provided a few memorable moments down the stretch, including a two-homer game in the regular-season finale. Considered a defensive specialist, Hechavarria vastly exceeded expectations at the plate in 24 games with the Braves, hitting .328/.400/.639 with four homers and 15 RBIs. The team re-signed him to a one-year deal last winter.

The 31-year-old didn’t find the same success during the shortened 2020 season. He hit .254/.302/.305 with only two RBIs in 27 games (59 at-bats). He surprisingly hit a rut in the field toward the end of the 60-game stretch, committing four errors in his final three games. He was left off the team’s postseason roster.

Hechavarria spent parts of the past nine seasons with the Blue Jays, Marlins, Rays, Pirates, Yankees, Mets and Braves. Instead of waiting out the slow MLB market for what would likely be a non-guaranteed opportunity, Hechavarria will continue his career in Japan.