Braves sign infielder Jason Kipnis

Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis watches his solo home run take flight against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis watches his solo home run take flight against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Credit: Matt York

Credit: Matt York

The Braves signed infielder Jason Kipnis, the veteran first announced Monday on Twitter, and he’ll compete for a roster spot in spring training.

Kipnis, who turns 34 in April, spent the first nine years of his career in Cleveland, earning two All-Star nods, and spent the 2020 season with the Cubs. Kipnis hit .237/.341/.404 with three homers and 16 RBIs across 44 games last season.

There’s an opportunity for Kipnis to make the Braves’ bench. The Braves have several options, many of whom are experienced players, but no guarantees. Infielders Johan Camargo and Jack Mayfield, catchers William Contreras and Alex Jackson, and outfielders Abraham Almonte and Ender Inciarte are among the bench candidates on the 40-man roster. Kipnis joins veterans Pablo Sandoval and Ehire Adrianza as other players trying to earn a role.

Kipnis has primarily played second base in his career, though he logged 14 games as a center fielder in 2018.

If Kipnis makes the team, he’ll be part of what’s slated to be an almost entirely rebuilt bench. The Braves’ bench for the National League Championship Series featured outfielder Nick Markakis, catcher Tyler Flowers, utilityman Charlie Culberson, outfielder Adam Duvall and Sandoval. Culberson signed with the Rangers, while Duvall went to Miami. Markakis and Flowers remain unsigned.

Kipnis’ most productive years were 2013-16, when he was among the better hitters on the contending Indians. He earned two All-Star honors and finished in the top 16 of MVP voting twice (2013, 2016). Kipnis has been derailed by injury in recent seasons, however, and has hit .236/.308/.403 over his last 402 games since 2017.

Braves pitchers and catchers report to spring training Thursday. The team’s first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 23.

In Other News