PHILADELPHIA – Tyler Flowers has been hit by a pitch once every 18 plate appearances this season without significant injury, but a foul tip landed him the Braves catcher on the disabled list Wednesday.
Flowers took a foul tip off his left wrist in the late innings of Monday’s loss to the Phillies and was placed on the 10-day DL with what was diagnosed as a contusion. The CT scan done in Philadelphia on Tuesday showed no fracture or tissue damage, but the Braves sent Flowers back to Atlanta to have their own doctor, Gary Lourie, examine the catcher and look over the CT scan to make sure.
The Braves brought up catcher David Freitas from Triple-A Gwinnett and penciled him in to start the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Phillies. Veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki was in the lineup for the first game and will likely get the bulk of the starts while Flowers is out.
Flowers stayed in to finish Monday’s game despite the pain, but Snitker said he wouldn’t have been available to play Tuesday if the game had not been rained out.
“Just really sore, hopefully,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Flowers’ condition. “I don’t think anything showed (on the CT scan) now, but he’s going to go back to Atlanta so Gary can redo the CT and look at him. I mean, it’s going to be I don’t know how long before he can torque a bat or catch or anything like that. Hopefully it’s 10 days and he’s good, and then we’ve got our third catcher again (Freitas). That’s just pretty much where it is now.”
The Braves can only hope they don’t have to go most of the final month of the season without Flowers, who has been baseball’s highest-rated pitch-framer this season and has teamed with Suzuki to give the Braves one of the most productive catching tandems in baseball.
Flowers has 11 home runs, 43 RBIs and career-bests in batting average (.279), on-base percentage (.376) and slugging percentage (.446), and his .823 OPS is 46 points higher than the career-best .777 he posted last year in his first season with the Braves.
He’s cooled off the second half, batting .218 with a .330 OBP after hitting .306 with a .397 OBP before the All-Star break. But Flowers’ slugging percentage has risen from .440 to .460 in the second half, including five homers in 87 at-bats.
Flowers’ 18 hit-by-pitches is the third-highest total in the majors, and Flowers has done it in 327 plate appearances, more than 200 fewer than HBP leaders Josh Harrison (22 in 531 PAs) and Anthony Rizzo (20 in 573).
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