Huascar Ynoa, Travis d’Arnaud inch closer to returns

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud gets loose during batting practice ahead of Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Minute Maid Park in Houston.  (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

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Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud gets loose during batting practice ahead of Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

The oft-referenced reinforcements for the Braves’ stretch run aren’t far away.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) and right-hander Huascar Ynoa (hand) have made progress during their rehab assignments and are moving closer to their returns. Both players are rehabbing at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Ynoa, who’s returning from a broken hand, pitched 3-2/3 innings Friday, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out four and didn’t issue a walk while throwing 68 pitches.

“I just talked to him,” manager Brian Snitker said Saturday afternoon. “It was real good. His velocity was really good, and he feels great. It was all positive stuff.”

Ynoa is expected to throw around 85 pitches in his next game, Snitker said. The team hasn’t revealed its plans for Ynoa when he returns, but he’ll be stretched out and capable of covering multiple innings, be that as a starter or reliever.

D’Arnaud (thumb) is slated to catch nine innings Sunday. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup in the coming week, as early as Tuesday against the Reds. While his season was off to a slow start before his injury in early May, the Braves have struggled to replace d’Arnaud. They’ve used six other catchers this season, including a Stephen Vogt-Kevan Smith combination currently. While Smith is lauded for how he’s handled pitchers, he’s provided little as a batter.

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