Braves sign OF Ramon Laureano, call up pitching prospect

The Atlanta Braves signed free agent outfielder Ramon Laureano to a minor league contract and called up top pitching prospect Spencer Schwellenbach to start Wednesday night against the visiting Washington Nationals.

Laureano, who turns 30 in July, spent his first six seasons with the Oakland Athletics, batting .246 with 68 home runs, 205 RBIs and 53 stolen bases.

The Cleveland Guardians claimed Laureano last August after the A’s released him, but Laureano struggled, hitting only .209 with four homers in 72 games with Cleveland.

The Guardians waived Laureano on Monday.

Schwellenbach, a 23-year-old right-hander, is set for his major league debut against Washington after being recalled from Double-A Mississippi.

To make room, Atlanta sent right-handed pitcher Jimmy Herget to Triple-A Gwinnett.

The Braves selected Schwellenbach in the second round of the 2021 draft, and the University of Nebraska product went 4-1 this season with an ERA of 1.80 in eight starts for High-A Rome and Mississippi.

Atlanta lost two primary stars for the season: staff ace Spencer Strider to an elbow injury after only two starts, and 2023 National League MVP Ronald Acuna to a torn ACL suffered Sunday.