Braves designate outfielder Ender Inciarte for assignment

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte catches a ball while fielding during team practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Atlanta Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte catches a ball while fielding during team practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The Braves designated outfielder Ender Inciarte for assignment Saturday, the team announced. Inciarte recently was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list.

Inciarte, 30, has been phased out of the Braves’ outfield in recent seasons. He’s hit .215/.276/.316 with two doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs across 52 games in 2021. He missed time with a hamstring injury earlier in the season and was placed on the COVID-19 IL last week when he wasn’t feeling well.

The Braves acquired Inciarte from the Diamondbacks, along with shortstop Dansby Swanson and pitcher Aaron Blair, in the Shelby Miller trade that helped propel the team’s rebuild. Inciarte has hit .275 while winning three Gold Gloves since joining the Braves in 2016. He was a bright spot in some of the team’s lean years, including his All-Star season of 2017 when he hit .304 with 27 doubles, 11 homers and 57 RBIs.

But as the Braves rose back to relevance, Inciarte, riddled by injuries, saw his performance drop. He hit .298/.350/.397 with 38 steals across his first two seasons with the Braves. Since 2018, when the Braves surprisingly won the National League East to begin their three-year run atop the division, Inciarte has hit .248 with a .681 OPS and 40 steals across 319 games. He’s slashed .200/.267/.277 in 98 games since the start of last season.

Throughout the Braves’ outfield chaos this year, which included losing Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuna, along with demoting struggling rookie Cristian Pache, the team has opted to use veteran journeymen such as Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte over Inciarte. The Braves acquired Joc Pederson from the Cubs last week to replace Acuna in right field.

Manager Brian Snitker said during his media availability Saturday afternoon that he hadn’t spoken with Inciarte. Snitker didn’t say whether Inciarte could possibly remain in the organization should he pass through waivers. The Braves opened a spot on the 40-man roster with the move.

Inciarte is in the final year of a five-year, $30.525 million deal signed in December 2016. The Braves will owe him the remainder of his $8 million base salary this season. The contract includes a $9 million team option for next season with a $1.025 million buyout.

Braves notes:

- Lefty Tucker Davidson (forearm) hasn’t resumed throwing, Snitker said. “He’s doing OK, but until you start throwing - he’s a ways away.”

- Catcher Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) has continued encouraging the team with his workouts in Philadelphia. The hope is that he’ll begin a rehab assignment late next week.

“He had another really good workout (Saturday),” Snitker said. “He threw for the second time, ran the bases, hit. He caught some in the (bullpen) yesterday. So things are progressing really well with him. I think by the end of the week or more, he’ll be ready to go out on a rehab (assignment).”

- The Braves haven’t announced their pitching plans for Monday’s doubleheader in New York against the Mets. While it’s not official, Snitker suggested the starters could be Kyle Muller and Bryse Wilson, but “we haven’t decided totally how we’re going to go about that yet,” he said.