5 veterans who’ll battle for jobs in Braves spring training

Atlanta Braves third baseman Pablo Sandoval smiles during batting practice before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Texas. The Braves signed Sandoval to 1-year, minor league deal. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
Atlanta Braves third baseman Pablo Sandoval smiles during batting practice before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Arlington, Texas. The Braves signed Sandoval to 1-year, minor league deal. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

It’s a spring-training tradition: veteran players trying to extend their big-league careers by winning a job.

Here are five such non-roster players who’ll be in the Braves’ camp, competing for spots on the team:

Infielder Pablo Sandoval: Having made more than $113 million across 13 big-league seasons with the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, the 34-year-old Sandoval will be paid $1 million if he makes the Braves’ big-league team this spring. The switch-hitting Sandoval hit .268 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs across 296 plate appearances in 2019 for the Giants, who released him late in the 2020 season. He then finished the season with the Braves, appearing in one regular-season game and three postseason games. Primarily a third baseman, he also can play first base and is expected to compete for a bench and pinch-hitting role.

Infielder Jason Kipnis: Once so highly regarded that the Cleveland Indians signed him to a six-year, $52.5 million contract before the 2014 season, Kipnis was the Indians’ starting second baseman in the 2012-19 seasons and made the All-Star team in 2013 and 2015. He’ll turn 34 on April 3. A left-handed hitter with a career .260 average, he hit .237 with a .744 OPS in 44 games for the Chicago Cubs last season. He’ll battle for a bench job with the Braves; he hasn’t played shortstop or third base in the big leagues but has played a bit of center field.

Infielder Ehire Adrianza: The 31-year-old switch-hitter has a career .244 average with the Giants (2013-16) and Minnesota Twins (2017-20). He has played mostly shortstop, but also has seen action at third base, second base, first base, left field and right field. He hit .272 in 236 plate appearances with the Twins in 2019 before dipping to .191 in 101 plate appearances last year. He’ll compete for a utility job.

Relief pitcher Carl Edwards: The 29-year-old right-hander had a 2.81 ERA and 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings across 131 appearances out of the Cubs’ bullpen in the 2017-18 seasons. But shoulder and forearm injuries limited him to 22 appearances with the Cubs and San Diego Padres in 2019 and to five games with the Seattle Mariners last season. He’ll battle for a berth in the Braves’ bullpen.

Relief pitcher Nate Jones: He was a productive reliever for the Chicago White Sox early in his career, pitching in 65 or more games in each of three seasons (2012, 2013 and 2016). A string of injuries has derailed him, and he had a 6.27 ERA in 21 appearances with the Cincinnati Reds last season (although he had 23 strikeouts in 18-2/3 innings). The right-hander, now 35, has a career 3.31 ERA and will compete for a bullpen spot.

The Braves’ pitchers and catchers will have their first workout of spring training Thursday in North Port, Fla. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 23.