Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud suffered a thumb injury Saturday night and it appears to be pretty serious. Braves manager Brian Snitker after the game expressed great concern with the injury and the news Sunday didn’t get any better for the Braves’ backstop. Atlanta placed d’Arnaud on the 60-day injured list on Sunday. Backup catcher Alex Jackson was also placed on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain.
While it was expected for the Braves to put d’Arnaud on the injured list, the 60-day injured list is what indicates a serious injury. The Braves are essentially saying d’Arnaud is out until around the All-Star break.
Here’s the play where d’Arnaud’s left thumb was hurt:
D’Arnaud, 32, is hitting .220/.253/.341 (57 OPS+) this season, but he hit .321/.386/.533 last season.
Catching duties will now be handled by William Contreras and Jeff Mathis, who couldn’t possibly be much different. Contreras, 23, is the younger brother of Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras. He was forced into duty last season for 10 plate appearances and got four hits, including a double. His 60 games in Double-A in 2019 and four games in MLB last season mark his only experience above Class A. There’s good potential upside in that bat, but he’s pretty raw.
On the flip side, Mathis is 38 years old and a 16-year veteran with a career .194/.253/.300 slash. There’s basically zero offensive upside, but keeps getting MLB jobs for a reason. As CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson covered, Mathis is one of the best around in terms of calling a game from behind the plate.
The 12-15 Braves have been pretty disappointing to date. D’Arnaud wasn’t hitting and the pitching staff has been poor. With this serious thumb injury to the starting catcher, the Braves will now attempt to turn things around behind the potential offense from Contreras and the venerable game-calling ability from Mathis.