The Braves sent Duvall for an MRI because the bones in the hand are small and sometimes fractures cannot be detected by X-rays. After Saturday’s game, the Braves’ trainers evaluated Duvall, and he was not in the clubhouse.
Tyler Mahle hit Duvall in the hand with a 92 mph fastball. Duvall turned into the pitch, so it hit him on the outside of his left hand.
Duvall was clearly in pain, but went to first base and remained in the game. However, he was soon thrown out after he headed toward second base thinking Orlando Arcia had walked, only to see that the umpire called a strike on the appeal.
Duvall played an inning in the field. Guillermo Heredia then replaced him in left field before the bottom of the third.
It remains to be seen how long Duvall will be sidelined. This season, he is batting .205 with a .649 OPS. He has hit 10 homers and driven in 32 runs. But over his last six games, he’s 6-for-20 with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs.
There is never a good time for an injury, but Duvall has shown flashes of hot streaks this season. It looked as if he may have been close to getting on a roll before the fastball struck his left hand.
Marcell Ozuna replaced Duvall in left field for Sunday’s game. Ozuna has homered 16 times, but has a .700 OPS and perhaps hasn’t hit as consistently as expected. He is also not good defensively in left field, as his range and arm are both lacking.
Ozuna’s bat might make him the best substitute for Duvall for a few days, though. Heredia is 7-for-58 with three home runs this season, and he hasn’t played much. Plus, if the Braves want Travis d’Arnaud and William Contreras’ bats in the lineup on the same day, as was the case Sunday, the only place for Ozuna is left field.
The Braves could soon receive a boost, though.
Entering Sunday, Eddie Rosario was 7-for-29 with two doubles, five RBIs and four walks through seven games of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. He’s coming back from a laser eye procedure to correct blurred vision and swelling in his right eye and, because he can now properly see, he should look much better when the Braves return him from his rehab assignment.
Due to Michael Harris’ emergence, the Braves will have a crowded outfield when Rosario returns. We’ll see how they manage that, but Rosario could fill in for Duvall – which allows Ozuna or Contreras to be the designated hitter – on some days.
Braves trade Touki Toussaint
The Braves on Sunday traded Touki Toussaint to the Angels for cash considerations.
Over parts of four seasons, the righty posted a 5.46 ERA over 145 innings. He struggled for Triple-A Gwinnett this season.
The Braves on Saturday designated Toussaint for assignment.
Austin Riley’s conversation with Joey Votto
After Saturday’s game, Austin Riley, who hit a homer and an RBI double in the win, said he feels like his swing has consistently been just one adjustment away from being perfect throughout the year. He’s done a lot of work to make sure everything is in line.
But that’s baseball.
And when Riley was on first base during Friday’s game, he had a conversation with Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who will likely be a Hall of Famer. Their talk helped put things into perspective for Riley, who is 25 years old and has shown star potential thus far.
“He said it’s a grind every year,” Riley said of the conversation with Votto. “He said some years you got it and some years you’re trying to work every day, it’s a grind every day. And then next thing you know, at the end of the season, it’s like, ‘OK, I had a pretty good one.’
“And that’s pretty good advice coming from a veteran like him. Just to continue everyday work and be able to trust that work is key.”
Spencer Strider looking to extend games
Spencer Strider has gone six innings in consecutive outings, a positive development for a club that didn’t get much out of the fifth spot before plugging in Strider.
But Strider wants to go deeper into games.
“It’s just getting quicker outs,” he said after Saturday’s start. “Part of it is just how we attack guys. We’re not really looking for contact. That’s part of how I was developed, is not trying to beat guys in (the) zone. Trying to get swings and misses is kind of how my stuff tends to play, so contact can be hard to come by sometimes. But I think as I learn sequencing more, how hitters are reacting to my stuff, and get a better feel for how my stuff plays outing to outing, we’ll be able to induce contact easier.”
Player development has changed
Harris is 21 years old. Strider is 23. Bryce Elder debuted at age 22 this season.
None had much experience in pro ball. The Braves, however, have shown a willingness to give young guys an opportunity to contribute if they feel they’re ready.
This is a change for Snitker, who spent a lot of years in player development.
“I’m adjusting,” he said Saturday. “It’s kind of the game that we’re in, because it’s industry-wide. It’s not just us, it’s baseball. I think the guys, too, they’re playing a lot more high-pressure games and international games, and they’re playing in these ballparks, so this is not too unfamiliar to them when they get here. It’s a different era.”
Why has it become this way?
“It’s probably the younger guys that are running the organizations,” Snitker said.
Snitker didn’t seem miffed by any of this. He has consistently adapted throughout his career, and it’s one reason he’s so successful in his current role leading the Braves.
It’s just different than how it was. And Snitker’s time in player development helps him manage these guys.
“I don’t think the time I spent in player development is a hindrance at all,” Snitker said. “It’s good, I think, to have that. Because you’re always rooting for those players, probably wanting them to do as good or better than they do. It’s great when the young ones come up and have a little success.
“I think we’ve got a good support system in here to work them through some of the down times and everything, because this isn’t easy. They make it look easy sometimes, but this is a hard, hard game to play.”