The Braves signed free-agent first baseman James Loney to a minor league deal shortly after learning Freddie Freeman had a fractured wrist and would be out approximately 10 weeks.
Loney, 33, hit .265 with nine homers, 34 RBIs and a .703 OPS in 100 games (366 plate appearances) for the Mets last season and was released this month from a minor league contract with the Tigers, who signed him after Loney was released from a minor league deal with the Rangers late in spring training.
He’ll report to Triple-A Gwinnett and the Braves will call him up if they believe he can help fill in while Freeman is out.
Loney had a .229 average with a .387 on-base percentage and no home runs in 62 plate appearances for the Tigers’ Triple-A Toledo affiliate this season before being released.
A longtime former Dodgers teammate of Braves outfielder Matt Kemp, Loney has a .284 career average with 108 home runs, .669 RBIs and a .746 OPS in 11 major league seasons with the Dodgers, Rays, Red Sox and Mets.
The left-handed hitter broke in with the Dodgers in 2006 and had his best season as a rookie in 2007, hitting .331 with 15 homers, 67 RBIs and a career-best .919 OPS in 96 games. Loney finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting.
Kemp hit .342 with 10 homers and an .894 OPS as a 22-year-old that season for the Dodgers after totaling four at-bats over the rookie maximum (150) in 2006.
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