Sports

Braves reinstate d’Arnaud after half-season out

ATLANTA — The Braves have returned catcher Travis d’Arnaud from his rehab assignment and reinstated him from the injured list.

D’Arnaud, in Wednesday’s lineup batting seventh against the Cincinnati Reds, missed 86 games with a left thumb sprain. He was placed on the injured list May 2.

“It’s been a long three and a half months,” d’Arnaud said. “To come back with the guys trending upward is super exciting. I’m very fortunate.”

Braves catchers have combined to hit .180 with a .537 OPS this season, both of which rank last in the major leagues.

Atlanta catchers hit .299 with an .862 OPS last season, thanks largely to d’Arnaud winning a Silver Slugger award with a career-best .321 batting average and leading all catchers in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and RBIs.

“Rehab went well, no setbacks,” d’Arnaud said. “Fortunately, I was surrounded by the right people, and they kept me in the right state of mind. Now I’m back up here with another great group of guys to go out and battle with.”

D’Arnaud, in his second season with the Braves, said he is thrilled to rejoin the team in the thick of a pennant race. The three-time defending National League East champions began Wednesday one game behind first-place Philadelphia.

Alongside Ronald Acuna Jr., Marcell Ozuna, Ozzie Albies and NL MVP Freddie Freeman, d’Arnaud was a cog in the 2020 lineup that led the Braves to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

Acuna is out for the season with a knee injury and Ozuna is sidelined because of domestic abuse charges, but Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos acquired Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson and Jorge Soler to give the lineup more power. Freeman, Albies, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson have plenty of home run potential too.

“Even without Ronnie in there, it’s a threat,” d’Arnaud said. “One through nine — I’ll put the pitchers in there too — has a real chance to do some damage.”

To make room for d’Arnaud on the roster, catcher Kevan Smith was designated for assignment.

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