Gattis leaves with muscle spasm, questionable for doubleheader

Evan Gattis left Friday’s game in Philadelphia with a right rhomboid muscle spasm, which tightened up after he swung and missed a changeup in his first at-bat in the first inning.

The rhomboid is a muscle in upper back, near his right shoulder blade.

After getting treatment throughout Friday’s game, Gattis said he had seen some improvement but he wasn’t sure whether he’d be ready to play against Saturday, when the Braves have a split-doubleheader against the Phillies.

“It doesn’t feel like an oblique, so that’s good, so I’m hopeful it won’t be too long,” Gattis said. “Just go forward from here, see how it feels tomorrow and hopefully get out as soon as I can.”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was hopeful that by the time Game 2 starts Saturday night, Gattis might be ready to play. As it is, the Braves have Gerald Laird as their backup catcher and Ryan Doumit as a third catcher if necessary. Doumit has caught only two games all season, April 5th and April 10th.

The Braves have an extra roster spot to work with for the doubleheader by rule, and could have chosen to bring up Christian Bethancourt. They have already flown right-hander Gus Schlosser up from Triple-A Gwinnett to be an extra arm out of the bullpen, and that’s the move they wanted to stick with despite Gattis’ injury.

“I think we need the pitching more,” Gonzalez said. “You shoot yourself in the foot if you bring a position player in a split-doubleheader. I think you need the extra arm…

“(Trainer Jeff Porter) said that (Gattis) felt a little bit better as the night went on. Maybe by the time the second game rolls, maybe the medication kicks in and he’ll be able to catch that game.”

Gattis was replaced by Laird behind the plate in the bottom of the first inning Friday night.

Gattis spent two of the Braves three games in Houston at designated hitter, so he arrived in Philadelphia well-rested.

Gattis is a bat the Braves love to see in the lineup at Citizens Bank Park. He had hit five home runs in the six games he’d played here entering the weekend series, including the 486-foot moon shot last year off Cole Hamels that was the longest homer hit in the majors in 2013.