Here’s a bit of good news on the injury front. Braves skipper Brian Snitker told reporters today that Travis d’Arnaud has taken a significant step in his return to the field, hitting in the batting cage.
Brian Snitker says d’Arnaud was able to hit in the batting cage today, a significant step towards a return.
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) April 21, 2023
The club will soon have another All-Star injected into an already-loaded lineup. Travis d’Arnaud was picking up right where he left off in 2022, but a concussion derailed that hot start. The veteran backstop was hitting .333 with five RBIs in eight games before a violent collision at the plate sent him to the injured list.
Thankfully, the Braves offense hasn’t faltered in his absence, so there should be no reason to rush him back. Typically, a concussion is serious but not too concerning; however, this situation is different.
This is the fourth concussion d’Arnaud has suffered over his major-league career — the first since 2014. Still, head injuries take a toll and can have effects well after retirement. Just because d’Arnaud hasn’t had one in nearly a decade does not mean he and the Braves shouldn’t proceed with the utmost caution.
I expect the number of starts behind the dish to dwindle for d’Arnaud in favor of Sean Murphy, who is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher behind J.T. Realmuto. The Braves will also get the most out of Murphy by starting him at catcher more often than not, and it’s something he’s shown he can handle.
Last season for the Athletics, Murphy started 116 games behind the plate. Moreover, Murphy has proven to be a much more productive offensive player when catching than when he has served as a designated hitter.
Through the early parts of the season, the Braves have pretty much split the catching duties between Murphy and d’Arnaud, but I expect that to change when the veteran returns to the lineup.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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