Astros get slugger Evan Gattis from Braves in 5-player trade

HOUSTON (AP) The Atlanta Braves traded yet another key player on Wednesday night, sending powerful Evan Gattis and right-hander James Hoyt to the Houston Astros for a trio of minor leaguers.

The move comes after the Braves already shipped out top hitters – Justin Upton and Jason Heyward – earlier in the offseason after going 79-83. Houston sent right-handed pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman and infielder Rio Ruiz to the Braves.

The 28-year-old Gattis hit .263 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs for the Braves last season. He hit 21 homers as a rookie in 2013.

Gattis is primarily a catcher, and can also play left field.

The addition of Gattis leaves the Astros with five catchers on the 40-man roster. They added Hank Conger in November in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels and already had Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi on the roster.

Castro has been Houston’s everyday catcher for the past three seasons, but struggled at the plate last season batting just .222 a year after earning an All-Star spot by hitting a career-best .276.

Hoyt split last season between Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi and has been invited to spring training.

Foltynewicz was a first-round pick by the Astros in 2010 and made 16 relief appearances as a rookie last season. The 23-year-old has a fastball that has routinely been clocked at more than 100 mph, but it didn’t translate to success last season in his limited work in Houston where he posted a 5.30 ERA. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City where he struck out 102 batters in 21 games with 18 starts.

The 20-year-old Ruiz was a fourth-round pick in 2012. He hit .293 with 37 doubles and 77 RBIs for Single-A Advanced Lancaster last season.

Thurman went 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA in 26 games, with 20 starts for Single-A Quad Cities in 2014.