Saturday March 2nd, 2024 5:57AM

Former Astros closer Giles, top prospect Waldrep among non-roster invites by Braves

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Former Houston Astros closer Ken Giles and top prospect Hurston Waldrep were among 23 non-roster players invited to spring training Friday by the Atlanta Braves.

The six-time reigning NL East champion will have a total of 60 players in their big league camp at North Port, Florida, including 37 members of the 40-man roster.

The 33-year-old Giles was signed to a minor-league deal. He had 34 saves for Houston's World Series-winning team in 2017, notched 26 while splitting the following season between the Astros and Blue Jays, and added 23 saves for Toronto in 2019.

But Giles has been plagued by injuries since then, including Tommy John surgery. He had made only nine major league appearance over the last four seasons, missing all of 2021 and spending last season mostly with the Dodgers' Triple-A team.

Now, Giles is hoping to earn a spot with a team that already features a deep bullpen led by closer Raisel Iglesias.

Waldrep, the Braves' first-round pick in the 2023 draft from the University of Florida, made a rapid rise through the minor league system in his first pro season. He posted a 1.53 ERA in eight starts across Class A, High A, Double-A and Triple-A, with 41 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings.

The 21-year-old Waldrep could work his way into the Atlanta rotation at some point this season, though 2025 is considered more likely as he looks to improve his command.

The Braves remaining non-roster invitees were: LHP Ben Bowden, RHP Tommy Doyle, RHP Grant Holmes, LHP Hayden Harris, RHP Jake Walsh, RHP Taylor Widener, C Drake Baldwin, C Tyler Tolve, C Chadwick Tromp, C Sebastián Rivero, IF Ignacio Alvarez, IF Phillip Evans, IF David Fletcher, IF Leury García, IF Alejo López, IF Andrew Velazquez, IF Luke Waddell, IF Luke Williams, OF Luis Liberato, OF Jordan Luplow and OF Eli White.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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