The Atlanta Braves signed former Florida Marlin Wes Helms to a minor league contract on Wednesday. The Braves have been searching for a right-handed bat off the bench to complement lefty Eric Hinske. Helms, who debuted for the Braves in 1998 and played in Atlanta until being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002, will report to Gwinnett in order to get regular at-bats.
Helms played for manager Fredi Gonzalez in Florida, and Dan Uggla, Helms' teammate for three years, vocalized his desire for the Braves to sign Helms. The Braves hope that after a couple of weeks in Gwinnett, Helms will regain his form and provide a lift to a lefty-heavy Braves lineup when rosters expand in September.
One positive aspect of the signing that may be overlooked is the sheer fact that the Braves will no longer have to face Helms. In 141 career at-bats against the Braves, Helms is hitting .284 with four home runs, 14 doubles and 20 RBI to go along with countless clutch hits.
Helms hasn't performed as well this season, as he is only hitting .191 with five doubles, no homers and only six RBI. After a stint in Gwinnett to find his stroke, the Braves believe Helms will be a key piece of the puzzle as the season nears its end.
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