The Braves selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Gwinnett before Monday’s series opener against the Nationals. Almonte started in left field and hit sixth in the lineup.
Almonte, 31, has spent eight seasons in the majors with five teams, most recently appearing in seven games with the Padres last season. He’s hit .237/.298/.370 with 18 homers and 97 RBIs across 376 games. Almonte has been phenomenal in Triple-A this season, hitting .403 with a 1.167 OPS. He’s hit three homers, collected 19 RBIs and stolen three bases.
“He’s locked in,” manager Brian Snitker said of Almonte. “You look at the numbers, it’s something really good every day. He has an OPS of like (1.1167). Reports down there were that the guy is locked in. He’s hot. ... It sticks out. We’re giving this guy an opportunity.”
The Braves will mix and match outfielders until they find a combination that works. Outfielder Cristian Pache is on a rehab assignment, though he’s yet to appear in a game for Gwinnett and might remain there for an expended period as he tries to generate some offensive momentum. Injured outfielder Marcell Ozuna was arrested Saturday on charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and family violence, jail records showed. He’s obviously out of the picture.
Guillermo Heredia has handled center field in Pache’s absence, with veteran Ender Inciarte spelling him. Ehire Adrianza started in left field Saturday and can play wherever he’s needed. Ronald Acuna will stay in right field unless a desperate situation arises. Now, Almonte has an opportunity to earn more playing time should he produce. The Braves will surely investigate the trade market, but impact deals are rarely made this far away from the July 30 trade deadline.
In corresponding moves, right-hander Jay Flaa was optioned to Gwinnett. Sidelined starter Huascar Ynoa was transferred to the 60-day injured list to open a spot for Almonte on the 40-man roster.
- When the Braves played the Nationals on Memorial Day, it will be only their fourth game over the last week. It was because of factors out of their control — scheduled off days and weather — but it’s frustrated Snitker nonetheless. Following two postponements over the weekend, the Braves will play two doubleheaders against the Mets in New York later this summer.
- “We’re still trying to get it going. We haven’t yet,” Snitker said, summing up the Braves’ first 50 games. They’re 24-26, stalled by injuries, underperformance and now an off-field issue. There are 112 games remaining, including Monday, but it’s no longer early. To this point, the Braves have simply been a mediocre team. June won’t get any easier, with series looming in the month against the Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals and Mets.
- Reliever Shane Greene was scratched from a scheduled relief appearance in Triple-A Sunday due to back tightness. It isn’t a concern, Snitker said (”normal spring training stuff”). Greene, who re-signed with the team in early May, has been building himself into game shape with Gwinnett. He’s scheduled to pitch Tuesday. The Braves haven’t revealed a timetable for when he’ll join the major-league team.
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