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Friday, July 18, 2014

Braves Injury Update: Evan Gattis will catch before finishing rehab

By on 7/18/2014 09:30:00 AM

Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis, on the DL since June 29 with a bulging thoracic disc, went 0-4 as the designated hitter in his first rehab game at Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday night, reports Tanya Sichynsky of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Gattis will remain with Gwinnett for "a few more days" and plans to catch as part of his rehab. Prior to the injury, Gattis served as Atlanta's primary catcher, going .290/.342/.558 (OPS+ 123) with 16 homers and 39 RBI in 63 games, including a twenty-game hitting streak in June. Veteran Gerald Laird and rookie Christian Bethancourt have shared catching duties in Gattis' absence.

Gattis, 27, was one of the surprises of the 2013 season for Atlanta, as they tried to make room for a non-roster invitee who hit 21 homers when they already had Brian McCann at catcher and Freddie Freeman at first base. He played left field sporadically until McCann went down with an injury. When McCann was healthy, Gattis sat on the bench, becoming a late-inning threat as he went 6 for 10 with four homers, three walks and 11 RBI as a pinch hitter. After the 2013 season McCann left in free agency and Gattis became Atlanta's primary catcher.

Althugh a star high school player, Gattis battled drugs and depression for several years before returning to college baseball in 2010 and being drafted by Atlanta (23rd round). He was called "El Oso Blanco" (the white bear) by fans in Venezuela, where he played winter ball in 2012. Gattis is pre-arb and under team control through 2018.

  (Rose Ingberman) and read her blog Lady and the Nats
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