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Indians sign Russell Branyan to minor league deal

The aging slugger looks to be heading back to the organization that originally drafted him two decades ago.

Victor Decolongon

The Cleveland Indians appear to have have rekindled their fondness for Russell Branyan, as the organization has signed the aging slugger to a minor league deal, per a club announcement. Branyan will be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

The 38-year-old Branyan has not played affiliated baseball since 2012, and last appeared in the majors in 2011 with the Angels and Diamondbacks. He has spent the entirety of the 2014 season with the Toros de Tijuana (Tijuana Bulls) of the Mexican Baseball League, hitting for a strong .296/.423/.620 line with 19 home runs in 272 plate appearances.

Branyan was originally drafted by the Indians in the seventh round of the 1994 draft, and has already had four stints with the club, signing there as a free agent three times and being acquired via trade once. In his 14-year career with the Indians, Brewers, Padres, Reds, Mariners, Angels, Rays, Diamondbacks, Phillies, and Cardinals, Branyan has hit .232/.329/.485 with 194 home runs, a 111 wRC+, and a 10.8 WAR.

With the Columbus Clippers currently in the International League playoffs, Branyan's acquisition figures to be more of a move aimed towards aiding the Triple-A club rather than the Indians themselves. While it's unlikely we see him in Cleveland in the coming weeks, a strong finish to the Triple-A season could propel the Indians to give him a look once rosters expand.