When the dust settled from Saturday’s doubleheader, and the Braves caught their breath from a long day that saw them make a last-minute decision to recall catcher Christian Bethancourt between games, the Braves wrapped up their 11-game trip prepared to get through the next few days without putting Evan Gattis on the disabled list.
Gattis was checked by a Phillies team physician between games of Saturday’s doubleheader, and he recommended the Braves give it a few days to see if Gattis’ sore upper back muscle – his rhomboid – improves. The Braves would rather not have him unavailable for 15 days if he might feel better in the next few days.
Gonzalez joked that the Phillies doctor was making him nervous with how long he took to examine Gattis – Gonzalez and Braves general manager Frank Wren had to make a decision with the roster before the start of Game 2 – but he ultimately got a promising report.
“His recommendation was ‘Hey, if it’s my player, I would hold off a couple days, just to see how this develops,’” Gonzalez said.
Gattis will have an MRI on Monday when the team returns to Atlanta to make sure it’s not something more than a muscle issue. But Gattis, who suffered the injury swinging and missing a change-up in his first at-bat Friday, is hopeful it’s not serious.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing, like an oblique or something like that,” Gattis said. “It’s probably a muscle strain. We’ll get an MRI when we get back and see what’s going on. I’ve got a dose pack (of anti-inflammatories) and we’ll go from there.”
Gattis is a candidate for his first All-Star game and would like to participate in the home run derby if picked by captain Troy Tulowitzki, but his primary concern is getting back behind the plate.
In the meantime Gerald Laird caught Sunday’s game in Philadelphia. Gonzalez planned to catch Bethancourt again at some point in the next three-game series against the Mets at Turner Field.
The Braves optioned reliever Juan Jaime back to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room on the roster for Bethancourt, rather than disabling Gattis. So they’re an arm down in the bullpen. But Gonzalez said coming out of the doubleheader, he thought the Braves were OK. David Hale won’t be available until Tuesday and Anthony Varvaro was unavailable Sunday.
David Carpenter pitched the first game of his minor league rehabilitation stint in Gwinnett Saturday night, pitching a scoreless inning with one strikeout, throwing 16 of his 22 pitches for strikes. He’ll make one more outing on Monday in Charlotte and be eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday.
“I think we’re OK,” Gonzalez said. “If here in the next two or three days we feel like we need another pitcher, we can make a move then. That’s why we’re trying to buy time with Gattis a little bit. But I think we’re OK pitching wise.”
If Gattis is feeling better by Wednesday, the Braves could option Bethancourt back to Triple-A Gwinnett when they activate Carpenter. Gonzalez said he viewed Bethancourt’s addition as a short-term thing but that will depend on Gattis’ progress.
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