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Braves lose Christian Walker to Reds on waivers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Nine days after claiming Christian Walker off waivers from the Orioles, the Braves lost the former University of South Carolina slugger Tuesday on a waiver claim by the Reds.

The Braves tried to slip the first baseman-left fielder through waivers at what can be an opportune time, early in spring training when many teams have no room on their 40-man rosters. It didn’t work, as the Reds opened a spot for Walker by designating for assignment the contract of pitcher Jumbo Diaz.

What to make of Braves’ spring start

Walker, who’ll turn 26 this month, was 2-for-16 with a home run, a walk and six strikeouts in six Grapefruit League games for the Braves, who had claimed him off waivers in hopes of having him at Triple-A as insurance in case of an injury.

He hit 18 home runs each of the past two seasons at Triple-A Norfolk, and Walker was 4-for-27 with one homer in brief major league stints in 2014 and 2015.

Last season in Triple-A, Walker hit .264 with 49 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs and a .757 OPS in 131 games, making 90 starts in left field and four at first base — his other action came as designated hitter — after playing almost exclusively at first base in his previous four minor league seasons.

A fourth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2012, Walker has a .276 average with 75 home runs, 299 RBIs and a .342 OBP and .791 OPS in 533 minor league games. He hit .288 with a career-best 26 homers in 2014 between Double-A and Triple-A stints.

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