Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud details road to returning from concussion

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud (16) tags Padres second baseman Rougned Odor (24) out at home in the fourth inning Saturday, April 8, 2023 at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado / For the AJC)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud (16) tags Padres second baseman Rougned Odor (24) out at home in the fourth inning Saturday, April 8, 2023 at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Daniel Varnado / For the AJC)

Concussions are much different than hamstring strains or sore shoulders.

With concussions, we tend to worry about someone’s health and safety beyond baseball. This was the case with Travis d’Arnaud, who has had a history of them.

He sustained the most recent one April 8.

“It was very eye-opening to me when it first happened,” he said of the latest concussion, which came on a collision at home plate. “I had some tough conversations with my kids. I would like them to think I’m super strong all the time, and when I was going through that and trying to fight through it, I knew it was serious.

“For the Braves to make sure I came back 100% before I played, it means a lot to me, and I’m very thankful for that.”

The Braves were cautious with d’Arnaud, whom they activated Monday. He didn’t play Tuesday, but he’s available whenever manager Brian Snitker wants to use him.

D’Arnaud said his concussion symptoms lasted until April 30, when the Braves were in New York. To that point, he would feel dizzy after running, then a headache would develop.

On May 1, the team’s last day in New York, he finally felt no symptoms after doing activity. He woke up Tuesday with no issues.

“That’s when I knew I was good and ready to get going,” he said.

The team wanted to make sure he could go three days without any symptoms before sending him on a rehab assignment. So he eventually caught five innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, was the designated hitter Saturday and caught five more innings Sunday.

Oh, and don’t worry about the fact that d’Arnaud caught only five innings Sunday. In that game, Charlotte scored 15 runs over the first five innings, so it wasn’t a typical five innings.

“Just making sure none of the symptoms came back as far as the dizziness or the headaches,” d’Arnaud said of his rehab assignment. “The last game, it was only five innings total, but I caught 160 pitches, so it was virtually like catching more than five innings. And having no symptoms after that, I knew I was good to go.”

Asked about the plan for d’Arnaud now that he’s back, Snitker said: “Don’t really have one. He’s back active and available.”

D’Arnaud can catch a full nine innings. He’ll be ready whenever he’s in the lineup.

“We don’t know,” he said of the plan. “We’re winning right now; we’re playing good baseball. I think that’s the most important thing, especially for our team. Whatever Snit wants to do, we believe in him and I believe in him. Whatever Snit wants, we’re all on board.”

Braves to go with bullpen day Wednesday

The Braves will execute a bullpen day on Wednesday, Snitker said. The manager declined to reveal who would start that game.

Charlie Morton on Tuesday pitched six innings, which was a nice boost for the Braves.

“It helps immensely, him going six, not having a short start or whatever,” Snitker said after his team’s win over Boston. “That kind of sets us up OK tomorrow, especially with a day off the following day.”

And because Morton went six, the Braves only used Kirby Yates, A.J. Minter and Danny Young. Their bullpen will be fresh.

Collin McHugh, Jesse Chavez and Michael Tonkin can all provide length, and thus could be key parts of a bullpen day. It seems like either of the first two would be more likely candidates to open the game.

Braves sign veteran utilityman

The Braves signed 31-year-old utilityman Chad Pinder to a minor-league deal, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

Pinder is upper-minors depth for the Braves. The Nationals recently released Pinder, who hit .218 with a .615 OPS over 55 at-bats in Triple A before that.

Pinder has played everywhere over his major-league career: First base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field and right field.

Pinder last appeared in the majors for Oakland last season. Over seven major-league seasons, he has hit .242 with a .711 OPS.