Austin Riley working out at first base, not outfield

Braves third-base prospect Austin Riley has been working out at first base and will man the position Sunday at the Marlins. After flirting with the possibility of playing Riley in the outfield, the Braves seem more focused on letting him handle the corner infield spots.

Riley will play the entire game Sunday at first, manager Brian Snitker said, and he’ll get continued reps at that spot for the remainder of spring. The 21-year-old slugger is expected to make his major league debut this season.

“I don’t think first base will be a problem with him at all,” Snitker said. “He’s got good hands, he moves well, has good feet, trusts his arm. He’ll do a good job at first base.”

Riley spent part of the winter preparing to play some corner outfield. The Braves displaced him in the immediate future with the Josh Donaldson signing, though they’ve always been confident they’d find a place for Riley when he’s ready.

The Braves’ consensus top position-player prospect has five hits in 22 at-bats this spring. The team trusts he’ll be a fit at first base, and its eyes will be on how his instincts develop. He won’t have a natural reaction at first until he gets more comfortable.

“I think he’s another kid who’s a different player this year than he was last,” Snitker said. “It’s his second big-league camp and he knows a bit more about what’s going on in the process. He’s done fine.”

Riley likely will start the season at Triple-A Gwinnett. He may ultimately play spurts in the outfield, but the Braves are clearly emphasizing his abilities in the infield as they ready him to contribute for a club expecting to be in the thick of a pennant race.