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Braves may demote B.J.

Sat., June 1, 2013

B.J. Upton has struggled since joining the Braves, batting .145. He may be asked to accept a demotion to the minors. (Associated Press)
B.J. Upton has struggled since joining the Braves, batting .145. He may be asked to accept a demotion to the minors. (Associated Press)

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says he has considered asking center fielder B.J. Upton to work out his struggles in a minor league assignment.

Upton, signed to the biggest contract in franchise history at five years, $75.25 million, has a .145 batting average, 109 points below his seven-year career mark with Tampa Bay.

Gonzalez indicated that Upton has enough service time in the majors to refuse an assignment if he disagrees with the move.

“In my own mind, you think about those things, but really I haven’t gotten to that point,” Gonzalez said. “I think there’s some logistics – contractual things and that sort of stuff – that they might not be able to do it that easy.”

Gonzalez said he has spoken with Upton about his absence from the lineup, but not about an assignment in the minors.

In Friday’s game against Washington, Upton entered as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning and later went hitless in his only at-bat.

Strasburg injured

Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg has a strained muscle on his right side and will return to Washington today from Atlanta to be examined by the team’s medical staff.

Strasburg lasted just two innings against the Braves on Friday night.

He grimaced after throwing a changeup to Brian McCann, with one out in the second inning.

He got out of the second inning but did not return.

After a slow start this year, Strasburg was 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his previous three starts.

Clearing the bases

The Oakland Athletics have reinstated right fielder Josh Reddick from the disabled list. The team made the move before Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox, sending catcher Luke Montz to Triple-A Sacramento to clear space on the roster. Reddick started in right field and went 1 for 3 with one run scored and one run driven in. … The St. Louis Cardinals optioned pitcher Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A Memphis and called up rookie Keith Butler. Boggs, who assumed the closer spot when Jason Motte was lost for the season with an elbow injury, had blown three save opportunities and had an 11.05 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.

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