Braves’ Austin Riley sick, won’t play for first time this season

Braves third baseman Austin Riley was sick and out of the lineup for the series finale against the Cardinals. Riley had played in all 138 games before Thursday.

“He’s sick, has that 24-hour bug, so he’s not even here (at Truist Park),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “So hopefully he gets through it. We’ll have to wait and see how he feels (Friday).”

Trainer George Poulis informed Snitker on Thursday morning that Riley had been throwing up during the night. Since 2021, Riley has missed only six games. He’s hitting .274 with a .843 OPS this season.

The Braves started Nicky Lopez in Riley’s place. Lopez, who filled in for Orlando Arcia at shortstop Tuesday, has been an invaluable defensive piece since the Braves acquired him from Kansas City. He can play around the infield and spend time in the outfield if needed.

“I’m glad we got him,” Snitker said.

The Braves were trying to avoid being swept at home by the Cardinals.


- The Braves haven’t announced starting pitchers for Saturday’s and Sunday’s games against the Pirates. Charlie Morton would’ve been aligned to start Saturday, but the team is considering getting him extra rest. It has a doubleheader in Philadelphia on Sept. 11, with Spencer Strider scheduled to start one of those games.

“We’re still discussing that,” Snitker said. “I don’t know who it’s going to be. … It’s not like we just spring it on (our starting pitchers) either. We ask them about it and see, and they’re all usually, especially now, into getting the extra time.”

Jared Shuster, Dylan Dodd and Allan Winans would be candidates to start against Pittsburgh. Darius Vines could be available as a reliever. It seems unlikely the team would pitch a bullpen game with a doubleheader looming. The Braves’ next off-day is Sept. 14.

- The Braves were set to face Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright on Thursday. Wainwright, 42, is a Brunswick native and once a Braves farmhand, when he was traded to the Cardinals in the J.D. Drew trade of 2003. He was managed by Snitker at Double-A Greenville before the trade. Wainwright is expected to have a large contingent of people at Truist Park on Thursday.

With Wainwright retiring at season’s end, and since the Cardinals won’t make the postseason, this will be the final time he pitches in his home state. He’s faced the Braves 21 times (16 starts), going 10-4 with a 3.42 ERA. He faced the Braves once in the postseason, pitching 7-2/3 scoreless innings in Game 3 of the 2019 National League Division Series. The Braves won 3-1, but ultimately lost the series in five games.

“I’m so proud of him and his career, and love the guy,” Snitker said Wednesday. “I said, ‘You’re gonna have a statue at Busch Stadium.’ He’s had just an unbelievable career. He’s a wonderful person – giving, professional, what he’s done for the city of St. Louis and his community. He’s just a great, great person. I’m just very proud of him and the career that he’s had because I think the world of the guy.”