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Infield prospect Camargo gets first call-up from Braves

MIAMI – A spate of errors cost prospect Johan Camargo any chance he had of making the opening-day roster as a utility infielder, but he didn’t have to wait long for his first call to the majors.

The Braves brought Camargo from Triple-A Gwinnett and placed left fielder Matt Kemp on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a hamstring strain.

“Really grateful to be here, really excited to be here,” Camargo said through a translator before Tuesday’s game against Miami at Marlins Park. “I’m glad I got a chance to get called up and be here.”

In the seventh inning of an 8-4 loss to the Marlins, Camargo struck out as a pinch-hitter in his first major league plate appearance but reached on a wild-pitch third strike.

He was 3-for-10 with a double, a home run and four RBIs in three games at Gwinnett, Camargo’s first games above the Double-A level. After making significant progress as a hitter in 2016 at Double-A Mississippi, he was added to the Braves’ 40-man roster in the fall.

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After creating a buzz among Braves coaches with his overall play early in spring training, Camargo had six errors – tied for the major league spring-training lead — including several bobbled balls at shortstop. That led the Braves to drop him from consideration for the opening-day roster and send him down to continue his development, but it didn’t change their view of Camargo as a prospect who’s played solid defense at all the infield positions except first base in the minors.

“He’s a very talented guy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He can play all three of the infield positions, probably all four. Can probably put him in the outfield. He’s an athletic guy, gotten a lot bigger and stronger, and it was one of those things where you want him to go play (in the minors), but in a situation like this it’s a different story.”

Camargo was told Monday to join the team in Miami just in case Kemp’s right hamstring was still sore Tuesday. After Kemp tested it with some running early Tuesday afternoon, the DL decision was made and Camargo was activated.

It’s unclear how much Camargo will play, if any, in the field before Kemp’s expected return next week. But he could at least get pinch-hit or pinch-running opportunities before a likely return to Triple-A.

“I’ve just been focusing on playing baseball and working on my things,” Camargo said. “All I could really do was try and improve. I didn’t want to really think about when my chance would come and I’d get the call.”

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