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Braves sign catcher Cervelli

MLB Notes

NEW YORK — The first-place Atlanta Braves have signed catcher Francisco Cervelli and immediately plugged him into the starting lineup against the New York Mets.

Cervelli, who has a history of concussions, was recently granted his release by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He gives the NL East leaders a veteran replacement for injured catcher Brian McCann, who is sidelined with a sprained left knee.

The 33-year-old Cervelli joined the Braves on Saturday at Citi Field and was set to bat seventh against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker says Cervelli will split playing time with Tyler Flowers behind the plate and likely remain with the club when McCann returns because by then rosters will have expanded in September.

Cervelli batted .193 in 34 games for the Pirates this season before getting hurt. He is a .269 career hitter with 36 home runs in 700 major league games.

Cervelli finished Saturday’s game by going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

To make roster room for Cervelli, the Braves optioned catcher Alex Jackson to Triple-A Gwinnett and transferred left-hander Grant Dayton to the 60-day injured list.

Sandoval set for surgery

OAKLAND, Calif. — Pablo Sandoval grew teary at the thought he may never make another play for retiring manager Bruce Bochy, a “father figure” to the third baseman who resurrected his career during a second stint in San Francisco.

Perhaps there’s still a chance of another swing or two — if both man have their way, if Sandoval’s ailing arm can handle it.

“He’s like my dad, he always wants the best for me and he always cares about me. If he wants me to go out there and play I’ll take one more at-bat for him,” Sandoval said. “It’s hard. He’s one of the greatest managers I’ve ever played (for). Not being around playing the last few weeks of his career, it’s tough, but thank God he gave me the opportunity to play nine years for him and do everything I can for him on the field and off the field. Being part of those three World Series is the most important thing we did together.”

Sandoval will undergo season-ending Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. The procedure is likely Sept. 3 or 4 in Los Angeles and will be done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who evaluated the 2012 World Series MVP on Wednesday and determined he needed the procedure on his ulnar collateral ligament.

The 33-year-old Sandoval made a comeback with the Giants in 2017 after his release by the Red Sox, and he has been used in various roles by Bochy. Sandoval, on the injured list retroactive to Aug. 11 with inflammation in the elbow, was batting .269 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 107 games.

Elsewhere:

n The Milwaukee Brewers have designated opening day starter Jhoulys Chacin for assignment.

Chacin is 3-10 with a 5.79 ERA this season. The 31-year-old right-hander had been on the injured list since late July due to a strained lat and was not expected to return to the active roster until mid-September.

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