Braves claim Billy Hamilton off waivers

Credit: Jamie Sabau

Credit: Jamie Sabau

The Braves claimed outfielder Billy Hamilton off waivers Monday, giving them additional outfield depth as they try to navigate a trio of injuries.

Hamilton, a five-time gold glove finalist, played 93 games for the Royals. He hit .211 (58-for-275) with 18 steals. He spent his first six seasons with the Reds before joining the Royals last winter.

A switch-hitter, Hamilton doesn’t provide much offense but adds defense and speed on the base paths. The Braves signed a similarly profiled player, Adeiny Hechavarria, on Friday, and he has four hits in his first three games with the club while meeting expectations defensively.

But Hamilton boasts a speed element few can match. He’s swiped 295 bases in his career, fifth most of any active player, while posting an 81.3 percent success rate, 10th best among active players.

Hamilton, 28, strengthens the team’s bench, giving the Braves a capable defensive replacement and pinch-runner. The club also has Lane Adams in Double-A who could serve the same purpose when rosters expand in September.

The Braves are working with a short-handed outfield, losing Nick Markakis, Austin Riley and Ender Inciarte to injuries. Riley is the only one who might return before the end of the month.

In the meantime, the Braves will have Ronald Acuna man centerfield, with the corners featuring combinations of Adam Duvall, Matt Joyce, Rafael Ortega, Charlie Culberson and now Hamilton.

The Braves also announced right-hander Wes Parsons was claimed off waivers by the Rockies. Right-hander Jacob Webb, who impressed in his rookie season, was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow impingement. The team’s 40-man roster is full.