‘Valuable piece’ d’Arnaud helping Braves

Chase d’Arnaud had three hits in Saturday's win over the Phillies.

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Chase d’Arnaud had three hits in Saturday's win over the Phillies.

Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said he saw Chase d’Arnaud playing in the International League the past two years and thought he’d like to have him on his Gwinnett Braves roster.

The Braves signed d’Arnaud to a minor-league deal in November and he began this season with the G-Braves, who then were managed by Snitker. When the Braves were looking to boost their offense earlier this month, Snitker suggested that d’Arnaud be among the players they added.

Now Snitker and the Braves are benefiting from that recommendation because D’Arnaud has emerged as a valuable piece for the Braves.

“I saw skills,” Snitker said in explaining why he recommended that d’Arnaud get the call-up. “This guy can do things to help a major-league team, whether it’s off the bench, pinch running or pinch hitting. He’s a versatile player.”

D’Arnaud collected a career-high three hits during the Braves’ 2-0 victory against the Phillies on Saturday. Since the Braves promoted him on May 2, d’Arnaud has reached base safely in nine of 11 games played while hitting .394 (13-for-33) with a .459 on-base percentage and slugging .576.

After Saturday’s game Snitker said he’d probably use a lineup that didn’t include d’Arnaud for Sunday’s series finale but ended up giving d’Arnaud another start at third base. It was d’Arnaud’s fifth start at third and he’s also played three games at second with solid defense at both positions.

“I feel really good right now,” d’Arnaud said. “I feel locked in. I’m just in self-preservation mode. Hopefully I can keep it going for the rest of the season.”

The Pirates selected D’Arnaud in the fourth round of the 2008 draft and he played in 64 games for their big-league club from 2011 to 2014. He signed as a free agent with the Phillies before the 2015 season and ended up playing 11 games for them

Thumb surgery limited and arm injuries D’Arnaud to 67 games in the Pirates’ system in 2013. He’d also had trouble with a finger injury during the 2012 season.

“I’m living in the present right now,” d’Arnaud said of the injuries. “I don’t like to make excuses.”

Snitker has used several players at third base and second base as he tries to find a lineup combination that works. So far d’Arnaud has made a strong case to get regular playing time.

“It says something that he goes free agent and ends up in the big leagues,” Snitker said. “You’ve got to be able to play a little bit. Skills play here. I’m happy for him. He can be a very valuable piece here.”