By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of nine players, for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market.

Manfred on Tuesday also placed former Braves general manager John Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team’s international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Manfred says an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball determined the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017, by moving bonus pool money from one player to boost another player’s contract.

Most notable among the nine players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016.

(©Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.)

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