Braves outfielder Cristian Pache began his rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Gwinnett. Pache has been sidelined since May 14 with a right-hamstring injury.
The 22-year-old has been held out of Gwinnett’s lineup the past two days, however, because he felt discomfort during warmups Saturday. Pache is now scheduled to play Tuesday, Braves manager Brian Snitker said. The Braves want to be careful with Pache, who’s endured hamstring and groin injuries since the season began.
“The hamstring, I think actually his groin was a little tight this time,” Snitker said. “They didn’t want to push that either. So I don’t know. Rather than take a chance, they want to make sure once they get him out there and he’s running around center field (that he’s OK).”
This is Pache’s second stint on the injured list this season after he previously missed time with a left-groin strain. It’s been a trying season for Pache, whose first opportunity as a major-league regular hasn’t gone swimmingly. Pache was just 7-for-63 (.111) in 22 games before suffering the hamstring strain. He was 1-for-27 in the stretch leading up to the injury.
Veteran Guillermo Heredia has been handling center field in Pache’s absence. The team also has the experienced Ender Inciarte to spell Heredia. It’s possible, if not likely, the Braves leave Pache in Gwinnett for an extended period, hoping he finds an offensive rhythm in Triple-A. They did that in late April, when Pache returned from his groin injury and was immediately optioned to Triple-A, with Snitker noting the youngster “struggled mightily” when he was in the majors. Pache returned soon, though, after Heredia had his own hamstring injury.
The Braves entered play Sunday at 24-26 following a 13-2 blowout loss to the Mets. While the Braves haven’t owned a winning record at any point in 2021, they began Sunday 3-1/2 games back of first place in the National League East.