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Braves add eight to Spring Training invite list

Braves add eight to Spring Training invite list

ATLANTA -- Athletic catcher Wilkin Castillo is among the eight players the Braves have signed to Minor League contracts and invited to Spring Training.

Castillo hit .256 with nine homers and was successful with 11 of 14 stolen-base attempts while playing for Triple-A Louisville this past season. The 26-year-old catcher batted .314 in the 22 games he played at the Major League level for the Reds the past two seasons.

Castillo, infielders Shawn Bowman and Ed Lucas, outfielder Jose Constanza and right-handed pitcher Jay Sborz are among the newcomers to the organization.

Catcher J.C. Boscan and outfielders Brent Clevlen and Wilkin Ramirez will return to the organization with Minor League contracts. Each member of this trio was on Atlanta's 40-man roster last year.

Constanza will come to camp with a chance to impress the Braves with his speed. The 27-year-old Minor League veteran hit .319 with 34 stolen bases last season with Triple-A Columbus. He ranked sixth among all Triple-A batters with eight triples.

Bowman combined to hit .269 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs with Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire last season. The 25-year-old infielder, who can play both infield positions, played in the Mets' farm system before joining the Blue Jays organization last year.

Lucas hit .307 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs with Triple-A Omaha this past summer. A former shortstop selected by the Royals in the eighth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, the 28-year-old has shown versatility while playing the outfield and both the middle- and corner-infield positions the past couple of years.

Sborz, who spent each of the past eight seasons in the Tigers organization, went 1-6 with a 4.74 ERA over 43 relief appearances with Triple-A Toledo last season. The right-handed reliever made his only Major League appearance with the Tigers on June 22.

This marks the second straight season that Clevlen will come to Braves camp as a non-roster invitee. The 27-year-old outfielder hit .257 with three homers in 53 games with Triple-A Gwinnett this past season. He missed more than a month after spraining his right toe during a short stint with Atlanta in May.

Once a highly regarded prospect, Ramirez was acquired from the Tigers for cash considerations before this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He has hit 100 homers in 728 career Minor League games.

Boscan has spent 12 of his 14 Minor League seasons with the Braves. The 30-year-old catcher's loyalty was rewarded when the Braves added him to their expanded roster in September and included him in the traveling party for Division Series trip to San Francisco.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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