Braves place Ender Inciarte on IL; he hopes to return this season

The short-handed Braves were dealt another blow.

Outfielder Ender Inciarte, who four weeks ago returned from a lumbar strain that sidelined him for 55 games, was placed on the injured list Saturday with a right hamstring strain.

An MRI revealed a Grade 2 sprain that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks. He’s hopeful to return before the end of the regular season Sept. 29.

“I just want to do whatever it takes to fully be back to 100 percent,” Inciarte said. “Right when I did it, I knew I was going to miss some time. I’m in pain right now. I’m just hoping it gets better soon.”

Inciarte suffered the injury while running the bases in the second inning of Friday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. He was in visible pain walking back to the dugout and was removed from the game.

He said he felt sharp pain the step after he rounded third. Inciarte has had hamstring strains in the past, but he said this one was worse than before.

“My frustration was more knowing that I was going to miss some time,” he said. “Especially with the way I was feeling. I just wanted to stay with the team and keep playing.”

Inciarte is determined to return for the team’s potential postseason run. 

“We’re still going to play in October, and I want to be part of that,” he said. “In my mind, I’m thinking like that. ... I have to be 100 percent positive that I’m coming back and that this team is going to be in a good position by then, and that we’re going to compete and do well in October, because that’s the goal.”

The Braves recalled Adam Duvall from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill the open roster spot. The team optioned Duvall on Friday afternoon.

Once claiming a surplus of outfielders, the Braves find themselves patching together an outfield as the season’s stretch run draws near. Ronald Acuna will shift back to center, where he played during Inciarte’s first injury, with Duvall, Rafael Ortega, Charlie Culberson and Matt Joyce combining to fill the other spots.

“We’ll evaluate (Inciarte) in a couple weeks and see where he’s at,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I don’t know that you can put a time frame on it. I think everybody’s body heals differently. We’ll see.”

Inciarte is the fourth Braves regular to land on the IL in recent weeks. The team lost outfielder Nick Markakis to a fractured wrist, and he won’t return until mid-September. It lost outfielder/third baseman Austin Riley to a partially torn LCL. He likely won’t return until the end of August or early September.

Dansby Swanson, the team’s starting shortstop, is sidelined with an injured heel without a timetable for return (though he’s progressing and could rejoin the club before next month). And now Inciarte is lost, quite possibly for the remainder of the regular season.

“It’s frustrating,” Inciarte said. “It’s always frustrating just missing time. ... At the same time, you can’t control that. That’s just a frustrating part of the game. We just need to get back to work and do everything we can do in the training game to get back to the field soon.”

Ender Inciarte of the Braves scores a second-inning run in Friday's loss to the Dodgers, but was hurt on the play. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X