Braves notes: A teaching moment for Jarred Kelenic; thankful for the catching situation

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott tags out Atlanta Braves' Jarred Kelenic attempting steal second during the third inning of an opening day baseball game, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryson Stott tags out Atlanta Braves' Jarred Kelenic attempting steal second during the third inning of an opening day baseball game, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA — At only 24 years old, Jarred Kelenic still is young and learning. He also is trying to familiarize himself with his role on his new team.

Friday brought a small teaching moment. It wasn’t a serious blunder, but the lesson is one he can take moving forward.

Kelenic led off the top of the third inning with a single. Then, with Ronald Acuña Jr. at the plate, Kelenic was caught stealing.

Over his major-league career, Kelenic has stolen 24 bases in 36 attempts. He is fast and athletic enough to swipe bags, but this one seemed a bit too aggressive considering Acuña, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley were due up after.

“It’s like I told (Kelenic), ‘We’ll steal our bases, but you’re in scoring position when Ronald’s up there,’” Snitker said. “I said, ‘I’m not sure I’ll run you (with a 3-2 count), quite honestly.’”

Last season, the Braves ranked No. 10 in baseball with 132 stolen bases. This might be a bit deceiving, though, as Acuña accounted for 73 of them.

“I’ll be honest: We’re not a base-stealing team,” Snitker said. “We got two guys that steal bases: Ronald and Michael. Kelenic is probably a young guy with speed that’ll be able to do that. Ozzie can, when he wants. That’s how we’re built. We’re a slugging team. That’s what we are. And like I said, I kind of feel like we’re in scoring position at first.”

The Braves’ bats are so dangerous and so impactful that baserunners must be smart. They must pick their spots.

The Braves probably have the best lineup in baseball. There’s no reason to take the bat out of their hitters’ hands.

Especially with J.T. Realmuto behind the plate. Snitker said Realmuto is the best throwing catcher in the majors.

And Realmuto made a great throw.

“He always does,” Snitker said. “He very rarely doesn’t.”

To be fair to Kelenic: He probably was just trying to be aggressive and get something going in a scoreless game.

“And that’s my fault,” Snitker said. “I was thinking when he got (to first base), ‘I should shut him down right now.’ But then you talk about it, and that’s how we learn.”

And in baseball, players are learning every day. This wasn’t some huge mistake by Kelenic.

He can take what he learned and apply it going forward.

Grateful for the catching situation

Remember when you thought the Braves felt confident enough in their catching situation that they certainly would not trade for anyone? And when you were shocked at them acquiring Sean Murphy?

Well, these are the situations when it matters.

On Saturday, the Braves placed Murphy on the 10-day injured list. But instead of fretting, rest easy: Travis d’Arnaud is an All-Star who caught every inning of the Braves’ World Series run in 2021. The Braves were in capable hands with d’Arnaud before they traded for Murphy.

“We’re fortunate, No. 1, to have a guy like Travis that can step in,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. “And two, (Chadwick Tromp) has done a really good job any time he’s been called upon the last few years, since we’ve had him. I’ve got a lot of trust in him and what he does and what he brings.”

Tromp, brought up to take Murphy’s spot while his left oblique strain heals, was in big-league camp for almost the entire spring. He did the drills with catching coach Sal Fasano. He worked with Murphy and d’Arnaud.

In 2024, Tromp is down to his final minor-league option. Next season, the Braves won’t be able to freely send him between Triple-A and the majors.

Snitker has said he believes Tromp will stick on a roster once he’s out of options.

“Yeah. Absolutely,” the manager said. “And I tell them guys all the time, ‘Until you’re out of options, you’ve got no power.’ But no, this guy, if a (team) has a frontline guy, he could definitely be a backup – and a very good one at that.”

Snitker said he already has a playing time split in mind. He’ll match up d’Arnaud and Tromp with certain pitchers.

“Obviously, Travis is not going to be able to do every day,” Snitker said. “I already have kind of what we’re gonna through the road trip.”

Murphy’s injury left the Braves to cover five more games: Two in Philadelphia, three in Chicago against the White Sox. And after the series finale in Chicago, the Braves have an off day.

Sale Day

A reminder for those of you who need it: Sunday is Chris Sale’s day. He’ll make his season debut in the finale against the Phillies.

The game begins at 1:35 p.m.