Evan Gattis continued to get treatment on his sore back muscle Saturday but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez went into the doubleheader against the Phillies planning to start Gerald Laird at catcher in both games.
Gattis had seen some improvement overnight but the best-case scenario with improvement throughout the day was that he’d be available off the bench in the night cap.
“We’ll see as the day goes on,” Gonzalez said. “He’s moving around pretty good, at least I saw his spirits up, a little better. Maybe get treatment and maybe the medication is taking some effect for the positive.”
The good news was, the Braves don’t believe it’ll be more than a day or two for Gattis, so they chose not to make a roster move, putting Gattis on the disabled list and bringing up Christian Bethancourt from Triple-A Gwinnett. They also could have used Bethancourt as the 26th player – a rule allowing teams to carry an extra player for doubleheaders. But Gonzalez preferred to have an extra pitcher, and they activated Gus Schlosser to be available in the bullpen.
“I’ve got nothing else to do,” Gonzalez said, of turning to Laird for both games. “We (don’t want to DL) Gattis because in a day or two, or two or three days, he should be better. And as the day goes on he should be better and better. You could bring up a catcher and take Schlosser off but that’s a tough tradeoff. You need innings I would think.”
Laird, 34, would be starting both games of a doubleheader at catcher for only the second time in his career. He caught both games of a doubleheader for the Tigers against the Twins on Sept. 29, 2009.
Laird also had to catch Friday night after Gattis left the game in the first inning after striking out in his first at-bat. Gattis’ right rhomboid muscle began to spasm when he swung at a changeup from Kyle Kendrick.
The Braves also have Ryan Doumit available to catch if needed but he has caught only two games this year and none since April 5 and 10. Gonzalez said maybe Gattis could catch Game 2 in an emergency.
“What I’ve got my fingers crossed for is the medication and the treatment - it’s gotten good enough where we run into something crazy, I could run him back there at 7 o’clock tonight for the second game,” Gonzalez said.
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