Braves 3B Austin Riley clears COVID protocols, will play Wednesday

Atlanta Braves infielder Austin Riley finishes up batting practice during team practice Feb. 24, 2021, at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
Atlanta Braves infielder Austin Riley finishes up batting practice during team practice Feb. 24, 2021, at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Braves third baseman Austin Riley cleared COVID-19 protocols Monday morning after manager Brian Snitker said he was scratched from the lineup due to an “unforeseen circumstance.” Riley is now scheduled to start Wednesday against the Orioles.

Riley hasn’t appeared in a game since March 11. He had “a bunch of at-bats” in a simulated game recently, Snitker said Sunday, but the plan was for him to return to game action Monday against the Twins at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. Instead, he was a sudden scratch.

“I had him in there until today, and then due to an unforeseen circumstance that I can’t really talk about, he’s not going to be able to go today,” Snitker said earlier in the morning. Ultimately, Riley was cleared and took batting practice before the game. It’s obviously a welcomed development for Riley and the Braves that he’s safe and will resume playing soon.

Riley is 5-for-14 (.357) with an RBI in six games this spring. After showing offensive growth in 2020 — namely in becoming a more patient hitter — Riley is trying to make a leap forward in his third season. He’s hit .232./.288/.448 with 26 homers and 76 RBIs in 131 career games.

Snitker mentioned Jake Lamb and Johan Camargo as players who could handle third base if Riley missed time at some point in the regular season. Non-roster invitees still vying for a spot on the roster — Ehire Adrianza, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Goins — also can play third.

“We have good depth there,” Snitker said.

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