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Indians sign Russell Branyan to minor league deal

A warm welcome back to Russell the Muscle

Victor Decolongon

The Indians have signed slugger Russell Branyan to a minor league deal. Branyan, a 38-year-old left-handed hitter, played in MLB from 1998 through 2011, including parts of six seasons with the Tribe (1998-2002, 2010) during which he hit only .232 in 997 plate appearances, but had a decent walk rate and hit 55 home runs, helping him to an impressive .472 slugging percentage (keep in mind though, that offense was at a much higher level then, and his OPS+ with the Indians was a modest 104).

Branyan has been playing for Tijuana in the Mexican League this season, where he's hit 19 home runs. He's probably primarily a DH type at this point in his career, with some ability to play first base if needed.

Branyan has been assigned to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. It's possible he'll be called up to help the Indians in their playoff push, but it seems somewhat more likely to me that Jesus Aguilar will be called back up instead, and that signing Branyan is largely about replacing his at bats for the Clippers, who have clinched their division and will play in the International League postseason, beginning next week.