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tennessee smokiesUnfortunately, it was the most plausible scenario with Kris Bryant coming up to AAA Iowa.

Erstwhile AAA Iowa third baseman Christian Villanueva is now AA Tennessee third baseman Christian Villanueva, per Tommy Birch. If the demotion isn’t bad enough, the timing is: today is Villanueva’s 23rd birthday. Happy birthday, baby.

Villanueva hit justĀ .211/.283/.372 in his first 248 AAA plate appearances, though he was hurt by a .266 BABIP (40 points below his career mark). His power left him a bit, and his strikeout rate ticked up considerably, from 21.6% at AA to 25.8% this year. His glove, by all accounts, remains stellar at third, so, if he can hit upon returning to AA, he’s going to stay relevant.

For now, Villanueva remains on the 40-man roster.

To make room for relievers Arodys Vizcaino and Armando Rivero, relievers Jeffry Antigua and Frank Batista will be joining Villanueva on the return trip to Tennessee (also per Birch). Each has some upside, but you’d more accurately characterize them as organizational arms rather than prospects to closely follow. Each has had a nice season here and there in his professional career, and it remains possible that Antigua could carve out a lefty relief role (he’s just 23).

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