Stephen Vogt: ‘I couldn’t be any happier’ joining Braves

Braves new catcher Stephen Vogt follows through on a single in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, July 18, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta.
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Braves new catcher Stephen Vogt follows through on a single in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, July 18, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta.

Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

New Braves catcher Stephen Vogt admits he’s the classic case of a veteran re-energized in a new environment. Vogt, 36, spent the season on the disastrous Diamondbacks (27-68) before the Braves acquired him late last week.

Vogt is the latest veteran to ride the Braves’ catching carousel. The team has shuffled catchers in and out of its lineup since losing Travis d’Arnaud to a thumb injury in early May. The latest move was switching out Jonathan Lucroy for Vogt, who’s thrilled to join a franchise still vying for a playoff spot.

ExploreBraves acquire Stephen Vogt, designate Lucroy

“Obviously the goodbyes are hard, but I was so excited to be coming here,” Vogt said. “Coming to a team like the Atlanta Braves, a storied organization and franchise that’s accomplished so much. I’d admired them from afar as a kid who grew up in the 90s watching them on TBS. Getting to put this uniform on is very special for me.

“But more importantly, just to join a team that’s trying to win and making a push right now is really exciting for me. I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

Vogt, who suspected he’d be among the veterans dealt from Arizona by the deadline, learned of the trade Friday night during the Diamondbacks’ game. The Braves acquired him for minor-league first baseman Mason Berne. Vogt was added to the roster Saturday and had three hits in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

He’s familiar with two Braves pitchers in Will Smith and Jesse Chavez, both of whom he’s worked with in the past. Despite the bullpen’s recent performance, Vogt has confidence in a group he feels has tantalizing talent.

“They have so much stuff in that bullpen,” Vogt said. “We have guys who come in with electric stuff. I know they’ve been struggling but these are pitchers who are really, really good. I’ve faced a lot of them and they’re not fun to face, I’ll tell you that. I’m not worried about them. They’ll get it rolling. I’m just excited to work with a group of pitchers who have this kind of stuff. It’s really, really exciting for me as a catcher and I know they’re going to help us win a lot of ballgames.”

The Braves are patching together the catcher spot until d’Arnaud’s anticipated August return. The team has used seven backstops this season: d’Arnaud, Alex Jackson, William Contreras, Jeff Mathis, Kevan Smith, Lucroy and now the well-traveled Vogt. The Braves are Vogt’s sixth stop in nine seasons following the Rays, A’s, Brewers, Giants and Diamondbacks. He was a two-time All-Star with Oakland.

While Vogt’s overall offensive production won’t impress, he was playing well this month before the trade. Vogt was 5-for-17 (.294) with a homer in six games. He added the three-hit effort Sunday, his sixth multi-hit game of the season.

“I’m excited to get a fresh start,” he said. “I’m excited to hit the pause button and reset a bit. My numbers haven’t been where I want them. I pride myself on having good at-bats and hitting the ball hard, which I have been doing, but I haven’t been getting a ton of results. It was nice to come out (Sunday), get a few hits and get some results because that’s why we’re here. I feel good. My swing feels good. I’m excited to come in here and contribute any way I can, be part of a winning team.”