Seeking to add some power to an underperforming and punchless bench, the Braves brought up veteran minor league outfielder Lane Adams from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday and designated for assignment the contract of utility player Chase d’Arnaud.
Adams, 27, hit .333 with four home runs, six stolen bases, a team-high 16 RBIs and a .940 OPS in 13 games at Gwinnett, after signing with the Braves as a six-year minor league free agent in the offseason.
D’Arnaud, 30, played sparingly this season — 3-for-8 with no extra-base hits in 11 games and only one start — after the journeyman infielder/outfielder hit .245 with 17 extra-base hits (one homer) and a .652 OPS in 84 games (262 plate appearances) in his first season with the Braves in 2016.
“Probably just the usage,” Snitker said of the decision to designate d’Arnaud rather than another bench player such as struggling veteran Emilio Bonifacio. “(D’Arnaud) hasn’t played a lot, which is unfortunate. I had a good talk with him yesterday (at the team hotel in New York), a real good talk.
“I think the world of him. But we’re just looking for someone to maybe come off the bench with a little bang. Lane has been killing it, so we decided to give that a try, and then we’ll see. Like I said, I had a really good talk with Chase, he gets it. Such a great kid. So we’ll see what down the road that brings.”
If d’Arnaud isn’t claimed on waivers or traded, Snitker said he’d like to keep the versatile infielder-outfielder and have d’Arnaud go to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves’ bench has failed to provide almost any offense — other than what they’ve gotten from Tyler Flowers (1-for-4 with two walks as a pinch-hitter on his non-catch days — and that lack of production has figured prominently a few times during the team’s 6-12 start.
Braves pinch-hitters are 2-for-29 with no extra-base hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts and rank last in the National League in batting average (.069) and slugging percentage (.069) tied for last in OBP (.156).
Team officials sought to add some power with Adams, who was 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBIs in an April 11 game at Norfolk and was 8-for-17 with a homer and six RBIs in a four-game stretch last week.
He also has good speed for a player his size (6 feet 3 and 220 pounds), and Snitker said Adams has been praised as much for strong defense at all three outfield positions this season as for his eye-opening offense.
Adams toiled for 802 games in nine minor league seasons with just three plate appearances in six games in the majors, all with the Royals in September 2014.
A .270 career hitter with 72 home runs and 214 stolen bases (only 38 times caught) in nearly 3,400 minor league PAs, he hit a combined .266 with 10 homers, 56 RBIs and 44 stolen bases in 49 attempts a year ago at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in the Yankees and Cubs organizations.
A former high school basketball standout in Oklahoma, Adams briefly considered retiring last summer after being released by the Yankees, but opted to sign with the Cubs and finished the season in their organization.
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