After 10 days without watching Evan Gattis take any ferocious swings, many Braves fans are pining for the return of El Oso Blanco from the disabled list.
But as of Friday, the rookie slugger still had lingering soreness in his strained right oblique and hadn’t been cleared to resume strenuous activities. So, though he’s eligible to return from the 15-day DL Wednesday, he won’t be ready that soon.
“He hasn’t swung a bat or thrown a baseball, or any of that kind of stuff,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Gattis said his side has improved significantly since he injured it taking a swing in a June 17 game.
“As soon as it happened it was really sore,” he said. “It balled up. I did get an injection that day; that helped quite a bit. It was sore for a couple of days. Any soreness I get now is really from treatment. I do my core work and all that stuff.”
Gattis hit .252 and led major league rookies by wide margins in home runs (14), RBIs (37) and slugging percentage (.577) in 163 at-bats before he got hurt. He still does – no other rookie had more than eight homers or 27 RBIs before Friday.
The Braves have particularly missed his presence as a pinch-hitter, where Gattis was a sensational 6-for-8 with a double, four homers and 11 RBIs.
Defensively, he played some left field and a little first base in addition to catching, as Gonzalez sought ways to keep his bat in the lineup.
Gattis didn’t accompany the Braves for the road trip to Milwaukee and Kansas City that ended Wednesday.
“Just going through my treatment, working to get back on the field,” he said. “I just haven’t been cleared for baseball activity yet. There’s no actual date or time frame, but as soon as possible, obviously. It’s a balancing act between trying to push it and trying to let it heal at the same time.”
There is no timetable for his return, because he hasn’t been given any specific target date resume hitting and throwing.
“I think when it’s not sore at all, is probably it,” Gattis said. “I’m not really sure, honestly. I haven’t swung a bat yet, I haven’t done any baseball activities. Still waiting on that date. And then from there we’ll see.”