Braves brace for bad news on Duvall's injury

October 13th, 2020

Just two innings into the Braves' 5-1 win over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series Monday night in Arlington, Atlanta found itself down an outfielder. exited after sustaining an oblique injury on a swing against right-hander Walker Buehler.

The left fielder, who immediately winced in discomfort and grabbed his left side after sending a foul popup down the right-field line, exited the game without finishing the at-bat. Though manager Brian Snitker was still waiting for further word from the medical staff after the game, it seemed as if the Braves were already making contingency plans.

In fact on Tuesday, the Braves replaced Duvall on the NLCS roster with Johan Camargo. Duvall is now ineligible to return to the roster for the World Series, if the Braves were to advance.

“I don’t expect the outcome will be good,” Snitker said. “He popped that thing pretty good, but I haven’t had a chance to talk to the trainers yet. I hate it for him with the year he’s had and the work he’s put into it.”

He was replaced mid-at-bat by rookie , who may now see more playing time.

Pache, a 21-year-old who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Braves’ No. 1 prospect, made his Major League debut in August. He went 0-for-1 with a strikeout and a walk before giving way to pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval in the eighth inning on Monday and is still looking for his first career postseason hit.

“He’s a talented young man,” Snitker said of Pache during an in-game interview on the FOX broadcast. “Again, I said it was a shame we didn’t have a Minor League season this year, but he’s got skills that play up here, and we’ll see. You never know. I said Andruw [Jones] came up here and hit a couple of homers at 19. No one knew who he was, so you never know."

Pache, who took over in center field upon entering Monday’s game, could continue to play there, or shift to left. The Braves could also stick , who has played mostly third base this year, in left field, where he started 58 games in 2019.

“I think it’s just one of those things where the game kind of slows down a little bit when you get out there in left,” Riley said. “I came up last year playing there. … I’m very comfortable out there.”

Riley also finished Monday in left field after being moved there in the eighth inning amid a series of defensive changes after Pache was lifted.

“It’s huge,” Snitker said. “Austin hasn’t been in the outfield, I don’t know, maybe once this year. Charlie [Culberson] is a pretty good outfielder. So I had no trepidation about putting him out there. These guys are ballplayers. We haven’t had to utilize that yet this year. Austin played a really good left field last year when he came up. He’s a very athletic kid. Pablo’s résumé speaks for itself at third base.”

Camargo, who hit .200 with a .611 OPS over 120 at-bats in 2020, also gives Atlanta another option at third.

Duvall finished 2-for-20 this postseason after hitting .237/.301/.532 with 16 homers and 33 RBIs in 57 regular-season games.