Travis d’Arnaud to catch Monday, Sean Murphy to begin rehab assignment

Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud (16) runs after doubling on a line drive during the second inning at Truist Park on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Arvin Temkar / AJC)



Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud (16) runs after doubling on a line drive during the second inning at Truist Park on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Arvin Temkar / AJC)

Braves manager Brian Snitker on Sunday gave more good news on Travis d’Arnaud: He will catch Chris Sale in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader.

“He’s feeling a lot better,” Snitker said before Sunday’s game. “I think he could probably catch today, but we’re just trying to stay away from him for that second day, keep him as far away from that hit as we can. But he’ll be good to go.”

That d’Arnaud is healthy enough to even catch on Monday is a great sign after he took a foul ball off of his mask in Friday’s game against the Padres. It is even more encouraging that the Braves, Snitker said, initially planned on using him for Monday’s 12:20 p.m. game – before it became a doubleheader.

This all means that d’Arnaud – who has suffered four concussions in his career – dodged a bullet on Friday.

“Feel like he did,” Snitker said. “Because with his history, anything could be a big deal. It was just good when he came in the morning after, he felt like he did.”

On Saturday, d’Arnaud – who felt dizzy on Friday night – reported improvement. Thankfully, he avoided a fifth concussion.

The scary moment on Friday did not materialize into a worse outcome.

“I saw him, and he feels great,” Snitker said. “Hopefully he doesn’t take another whack.”

Sean Murphy to begin rehab assignment

It is official: Sean Murphy (left oblique strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday. The Stripers are at home versus Jacksonville.

The biggest thing for Murphy is how he feels when he swings. To this point, he’s only taken batting practice.

But if all goes well, it shouldn’t be long until Atlanta gets back one of its starters.

Austin Riley might’ve turned a corner

There’s positive news on Austin Riley, who is dealing with intercostal inflammation.

“He came today and didn’t feel anything, which is really good,” Snitker said Sunday. “Now, it’s just the fact of, you’re not gonna come out and just immediately start swinging a bat. You gotta kind of ease into it. But it was really positive today.”

Riley took grounders on Sunday. He continued staying active. When he’s cleared to swing, he’ll begin with dry swings. He’ll need to go through a short progression before taking full swings in batting practice.

“But it was a really good corner that he turned today,” Snitker said.

Something to watch

Monday’s doubleheader means the Braves will need to call up a starting pitcher for Thursday’s game. Bryce Elder would’ve been lined up to start the finale in Chicago against the Cubs, but Saturday’s postponement pushed Elder to Sunday.

AJ Smith-Shawver started on Saturday and would be lined up to start. Allan Winans, who pitched on Friday, could start on extra rest. Darius Vines pitched on Wednesday and would be on a week’s worth of rest.

Smith-Shawver, Winans and Vines are all on Atlanta’s 40-man roster. But in Gwinnett this season, Smith-Shawver has a 6.10 ERA, Winans has a 4.50 ERA and Vines has a 4.58 ERA.

The Braves always could opt for a bullpen game because Ray Kerr, Jesse Chavez and Dylan Lee all could be multi-inning options. But they’re in a stretch of 17 games in 17 days and, despite their bullpen’s low usage to this point, they might not want to take this risk. They don’t have another off day until June 3.