MIAMI – The Cincinnati Reds claimed infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera off waivers Friday from the Arizona Diamondbacks, adding veteran depth as they chase a playoff spot.
Cabrera, 35, had a .244 batting average and .324 on-base percentage in 90 games this season. He had 21 doubles, seven homers, 40 RBI and 34 runs scored for the last-place D-Backs. The 15-year veteran has played third base and first base this season, and he has plenty of experience at second base and shortstop from previous years.
A switch-hitter, Cabrera could boost the lineup against left-handed pitching. In 104 at-bats against lefties this season, Cabrera is batting .290 with a .356 on-base percentage. The Reds have struggled against left-handed pitching for much of the season.
The Reds had three open slots on their 40-man roster after relievers Heath Hembree and Sean Doolittle were designated for assignment and Nick Senzel was returned to the 60-day injured list, reversing an option to the minor leagues, because of fluid buildup in his left knee. Hembree was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets and Doolittle was claimed by the Seattle Mariners.
Teams are unable to make trades following the league’s July 30 trade deadline, so waivers are an important way to fill depth. Players must be in the organization by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the playoff roster. The 26-man active roster will expand to 28 players on Sept. 1.
Cabrera badly slumped in June after a hot start, but he’s been about a league-average hitter since the All-Star break. He was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012 when he played for Cleveland.
He will be a free agent after the season ends. The Reds will pick up about $350,000 of his remaining salary from the one-year, $1.75 million contract he signed with the D-Backs in February.
WINKER OUT: Jesse Winker didn’t travel with the Reds on their six-game road trip through Milwaukee and Miami, and he’s not expected to return to the big-league roster for at least a couple of weeks.
Winker, rehabbing in Cincinnati, is on the 10-day injured list with an intercostal strain. He tried to play through it, but he re-aggravated the injury during a swing in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Not doing baseball activities, no swinging or anything like that yet,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He’s adding in more activity, physical activities every day. He’s getting closer. I would say still a couple weeks away from being back with us.”