The Braves announced Monday that they would exercise Hinske's $1.5 million club option for the 2012 season. Hinske, 34, hit .233 with 10 homers and a .403 slugging percentage in 236 at-bats this past season. His 10 homers ranked third among all National League players with fewer than 240 at-bats.
Hinske, along with many Braves, saw his offensive production sink in 2011. He hit .296 as a pinch hitter in 2010, but that dropped to .191 in 2011. Still, his 10 home runs ranked third among National League players with fewer than 240 at-bats.
For 2012, Hinske will be able to occasionally give Freddie Freeman a day off at first base as well as play either corner outfield position. He joins Matt Diaz and backup catcher David Ross as almost sure bets for the Braves bench. Frank Wren will also be looking to find a backup outfielder and a utility infielder who might also be able to play center field, which could clarify how Brooks Conrad will factor in the Braves' 2012 roster.
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