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Braves sign lefty Freeman, will get invite to spring training

The Braves signed well-traveled left-handed reliever Sam Freeman to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training.

Freeman, 29, adds potential depth to a bullpen that figures to be a Braves strength in 2017. He had a 2.74 ERA in 88 2/3 innings during 111 major league appearances over a three-season stretch through 2015 with the Cardinals and Rangers before spending most of 2016 in Triple-A and posting a 12.91 ERA in his only seven big-league appearances for the Brewers.

The lefty has a 3.87 ERA in 142 career appearances in parts of five major league seasons, and Freeman is notable for his extreme “reverse splits.” He has a .202 opponents’ batting average and .580 OPS in 293 plate appearances by right-handed batters, compared with .283/.820 in 184 plate appearances by lefty batters.

Right-handers hit just .167 with a .488 OPS in 89 plate appearances in 2015 when he had a career-high 54 appearances for the Rangers; lefties hit .281 with a .911 OPS against him that season.

While spending most of the 2014-15 seasons with St. Louis and Texas, Freeman totaled 75 strikeouts with 44 walks in 76 1/3 innings over 98 major league appearances.

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A former 32nd-round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2008 out of the University of Kansas, Freeman made his major league debut in June 2012. The Brewers got him from the Rangers this year in an April 5 trade for cash.

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