Found July 11, 2013 on
MLB Injury News:
While the Braves were in the clubhouse prepping for Wednesday’s series finale — an early start at 12:40 p.m. — Evan Gattis took batting practice with outfielder Jordan Schafer. It was also the first on-field hitting for Schafer since he was DL last week with a badly bruised ankle from a foul ball. Schafer should also be ready shortly after the All-Star break.
El Oso Blanco hasn’t lost a bit of strength or bat speed, apparently.
#Braves Gattis said he felt real good, no soreness, and that he's excited to start playing rehab games soon.
— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) July 10, 2013
“It felt great,” said Gattis, who graduated from hitting soft-tossed “flips” for a few days to taking batting practice thrown by bullpen catcher Alan Butts. “I couldn’t feel (the oblique strain). Felt good. A little rusty, but I feel real good. I feel close, ready to play. See how it is tomorrow, get another BP, then hopefully get in some games.”
On the DL since June 18, Gattis hopes to be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment before next week’s All-Star break.
That could set him up for a return from the disabled list during the July 19-21 interleague series against the White Sox in Chicago, where the Braves will use a designated hitter.
In his only game as a DH this season, at Toronto, Gattis went 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and two RBIs. The catcher/outfielder also was 6-for-8 with four homers as a pinch-hitter, and his bench bat has been sorely missed by the Braves.
He hit .252 with 11 doubles, 14 homers, 37 RBIs and a .577 slugging percentage in 163 at-bats before his injury. Gattis still has twice as many pinch-hit homers as the rest of the Braves combined, and his four homers in just 23 at-bats in close-and-late situations is tied with Justin Upton for the team lead (Upton has four in 54 at-bats).
Gattis remains the major league rookie leader in homers and RBIs by wide margins, with six more homers and eight more RBIs than any other rookie entering Wednesday’s games. His slugging percentage ranked second among rookies behind the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig (.659), while no other rookie was as high as .500.
The Braves have been careful with Gattis, perhaps mindful of how catcher Brian McCann’s oblique strain two years ago became a nagging issue for the remainder of the season when he rushed back too soon. They want to make sure Gattis is healthy for the stretch drive in the playoff race.
He began running, throwing and hitting off a tee last week, then did a couple of days of soft-tossed pitches this week before moving up to coach-toss batting practice Wednesday, a day or two earlier than manager Fredi Gonzalez had anticipated when the series against the Marlins began Monday.
#Braves Schafer took BP with Gattis, also first BP for Schafer since his ankle injury. Both should be back right after break.
— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) July 10, 2013
Gattis was sweaty and happy when he came off the field. Excited to have punished some baseballs again.
“Yeah, man,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve hit in BP on the field in a long time. Absolutely, it feels good. A little rusty, but it felt good. I feel ready to play. I feel close.”
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