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Atlanta Braves add veteran depth at catcher, acquire Kevan Smith, 32, from Tampa Bay Rays

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves acquired catcher Kevan Smith from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash on Wednesday and designated catcher Jeff Mathis for assignment.

Smith, 32, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Sunday. He was 1 for 4 in only three games with the Rays this season. Smith has a .271 career batting average in six seasons with the Chicago White Sox, the Angels and the Rays.

Mathis, 38, was 0 for 9 with five strikeouts in three games with Atlanta.

The Braves also optioned left-hander Tucker Davidson to Triple-A Gwinnett and activated left-hander Grant Dayton from the 10-day injured list. Davidson allowed three runs in six innings against the New York Mets on Tuesday night in his 2021 debut

Dayton will be active for Wednesday night’s game against the Mets after recovering from a thigh inflammation.

Smith broke into the majors with the White Sox, where he played from 2016-18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Milwaukee Brewers acquire Eduardo Escobar from Arizona Diamondbacks for two prospects

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The Milwaukee Brewers added another infielder to their roster on Wednesday, trading with the Arizona Diamondbacks for veteran Eduardo Escobar.

Escobar, 32, has 22 home runs for the last-place Diamondbacks. He can play any infield position, and is likely to see time at third and first base. The Brewers have Willy Adames and Kolten Wong playing shortstop and second base, respectively.

The switch-hitting Escobar has a career .778 OPS in 11 seasons, the past four with Arizona. It’s the third in-season trade to net the Brewers an infielder, as they previously acquired Adames from the Tampa Bay Rays and first baseman Rowdy Tellez from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Milwaukee is sending back prospects Cooper Hummel and Alberto Ciprian to complete the deal.

Hummel, 26, was an 18th-round pick for Milwaukee in 2016 and is currently at Triple-A, where he’s slashing .254/.435/.508. He has played first base, catcher and the outfield for Nashville.

Ciprian, 18, signed as an undrafted free agent with Milwaukee in 2019 and is playing in the Dominican Summer League, averaging .378 while adding eight RBIs in his first 12 professional games.

Escobar was highly sought-after, with the Chicago White Sox also interested in his services, but Milwaukee has just as big a need for him. The Brewers rank last in batting in the National League, hitting 21 points lower as a team than Escobar’s .246 batting average.

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New York Yankees set to acquire Joey Gallo from Texas Rangers, sources say

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The New York Yankees are finalizing a deal to acquire outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Wednesday night.

The deal is pending a medical review.

It wasn’t immediately known who New York was sending to Texas to complete the deal.

Gallo was a late scratch from the Rangers’ lineup ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks, with speculation that a trade was in the works.

That proved to be the case, with the Yankees swooping in and acquiring arguably the fiercest bat on the trade market to go with fellow sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

Gallo has spent all seven of his major league seasons in Texas, but the Rangers — an AL West-worst 36-65 entering Wednesday — have been in sell mode, with Gallo their prized piece.

A two-time All-Star, the 27-year-old slugger ranks sixth in the AL this season with 25 home runs, to go with 55 RBIs and a .223 average. He had struggled mightily at the plate since the All-Star break, with zero home runs and a .067 average in the 10 games following, before breaking out Tuesday with a three-run shot against the Diamondbacks.

Gallo is among just eight rostered major leaguers with multiple career 40-HR seasons (2017, ’18).

But he’s also excelled in the outfield, winning a Gold Glove in right in 2020. He’s tied for second in the majors with 12 defensive runs saved this season (tied for most among outfielders) and joins Toronto’s Marcus Semien as the only players with 20 home runs and 10 defensive runs saved.

Gallo is also under team control through 2022.

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Houston Astros bolster pen, deal for Miami Marlins closer Yimi Garcia

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The Houston Astros continued to fortify their bullpen before the trade deadline, acquiring right-hander Yimi Garcia from the Miami Marlins on Wednesday for two players.

In exchange for Garcia, the Astros sent outfielder Bryan De La Cruz and right-hander Austin Pruitt to the Marlins.

It’s the second straight day the AL West-leading Astros have swung a trade to add bullpen help. On Tuesday, Houston acquired Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero from the Mariners.

Garcia, 30, has 15 saves for the Marlins this season and is 3-7 with a 3.47 ERA. He has struck out 35 and walked just five batters in 36⅓ innings pitched. He has a 3.41 ERA over seven major league seasons.

De La Cruz, 24, is hitting .324 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs for Triple-A Sugar Land this season.

Pruitt, 31, is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two major league appearances for the Astros this season.

This is the second trade made Wednesday by the last-place Marlins, who earlier dealt center fielder Starling Marte to the Oakland Athletics.

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