Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud making ‘a lot of progress’

Sidelined Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) is progressing well as he draws nearer to his expected August return.

The veteran backstop suffered a thumb injury in early May and soon after underwent surgery. But d’Arnaud is on schedule to return around mid-August, just as the team initially hoped.

“We’re going to take him on the road, work him out,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll get him on the field early on the road. He’s coming along good, actually. He’s swinging with two hands off the tee and things like that. Catching balls off the machines. He’s progressing really well. It just takes time to get his strength and range of motion, all that back. But he’s right where the medical staff thought he’d be right now.”

The Braves have exhausted their options in trying to replace d’Arnaud. They’ve used six additional backstops this season, most recently relying on a Stephen Vogt-Kevan Smith tandem. The Braves have also used youngsters William Contreras and Alex Jackson, along with veterans Jeff Mathis and Jonathan Lucroy.

d’Arnaud, 32, hit .220 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 23 games before his injury.

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