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Baseball Cincinnati Reds claim infielder Freddy Galvis off waivers from Blue Jays

Freddy Galvis #16 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on in the first inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Aug. 05, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo says Freddy Galvis will be missed in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse.

The Cincinnati Reds claimed the veteran infielder off waivers from the Blue Jays on Monday afternoon. Montoyo, in his first year as a manager in Major League Baseball, praised Galvis for his leadership.

“We’re going to miss him, that’s a fact. I’m going to miss him,” Montoyo said ahead of Monday’s game against the Texas Rangers. “He became almost like a friend to me. I love everything he did in that clubhouse.

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“For being my first year here, he was the perfect guy for me to have. Plays every day, never complains, plays the game the right way. He was awesome.”

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound switch-hitter was signed by the Blue Jays on Jan. 29 to a one-year deal with a club option for 2020.

The 29-year-old Galvis has hit .267 with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 54 runs batted in over 115 games this season.

A natural shortstop, Galvis wound up playing all over the infield for the Blue Jays, especially after the team called up prospects Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, who play short and second base respectively.

Although he’s sorry to see Galvis go, Montoyo recognizes that it’s an opportunity for Galvis to get regular play time at his preferred position.

“Freddy’s going to go play every day at short, where he belongs,” Montoyo said. “He’s not going to have to be a utility guy. That’s good for him.”

The Punto Fijo, Venezuela, native has a career batting average of .248 with 83 home runs, 354 RBIs and 55 stolen bases across 919 games with Philadelphia, San Diego and Toronto.

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He had become a mentor on a youthful Blue Jays lineup in the midst of a rebuild. He was particularly influential for rookie third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“Freddy was a key for me,” Guerrero said through a translator. “He showed me how to go out there and work hard. He showed me how to help the team win every night.”

Galvis’s move to the Reds also taught Guerrero a tough lesson about the business side of baseball.

“It’s out of my control when these decisions happen,” said Guerrero, who only spoke to Galvis briefly before his departure because both were worried about letting their emotions get the best of them. “I feel a little bit awkward, uncomfortable because we all love Freddy here. But it is what it is and we all just have to keep going.”

The Blue Jays recalled Billy McKinney from triple-A Buffalo on Monday and he will take Galvis’s spot on the roster.

Meanwhile, right-hander David Paulino cleared release waivers.

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