Culberson went 3-for-4 with a run scored in Sunday's win over the Diamondbacks. With Freddie Freeman fighting off a cold, Culberson entered the lineup at first base and hit sixth, producing his second multi-hit performance in May. The veteran utility player is now hitting .429 (12-for-28) on the year in his limited opportunities off the bench, with four of his hits going for extra bases (two doubles, two homers).
Culberson will start in left field and hit eighth Thursday against the Padres. After not starting in any of the Braves' first 29 games, Culberson has now entered the lineup on back-to-back days. Culberson filled in for Ronald Acuna on Wednesday and will replace Ender Inciarte in the series finale in what amounted to rest days for both everyday outfielders. Expect Culberson to resume his usual reserve duties in this weekend's series in Miami.
Culberson went 1-for-3 in Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox. The utility player has had a sluggish spring, going 5-for-30 with a 2:8 BB:K through 12 games. Culberson became a fan favorite in Atlanta last year after hitting .270 with a career-high 12 homers, but his .678 career OPS suggests he could have trouble repeating the performance.
Culberson and the Braves avoided arbitration Friday with a one-year, $1.395 deal, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. Culberson was an effective utility man in his first year in Atlanta, playing seven positions while receiving a career-high 322 plate appearances and finishing with his first above-average batting line (.270/.326/.466, good for a 108 wRC+). He'll likely be reprising that role again this season.
Culberson is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Cardinals. Culberson saw his five-game starting streak come to an end in Monday's series opener, when Johan Camargo was cleared to return from a groin injury. With Camargo emerging as one of the Braves' top hitters in the second half, he should continue to stick in the lineup on a regular basis, closing Culberson's path to an everyday role over the final week and a half of the regular season.
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