Pache, Atlanta's top prospect, sustained a strained left groin in a game against the Marlins on April 13. Pache was optioned to the alternate training site on April 24 and has stayed active since his stint on the IL.
Pache has struggled at the plate this season with a .133 average through 31 plate appearances. Despite Pache’s offensive struggles, he is still regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in the Majors. On top of that, the reports from Pache’s time at the alternate training site have manager Brian Snitker hopeful that he has shown improvement with his swing and patience in the box.
“He’s been playing every day. He's getting some hits, and the reports have been good so hopefully that did him some good also,” said Snitker.
After Friday’s loss, Heredia was treated for his injury but did not show the improvement the team was hoping for. Snitker and the Braves are going to need Heredia during the season and hope that if they shut him down now he can be available sooner rather than later.
“They treated him up [after] he came in sore. If he comes back, you're gonna need to play every day,” said Snitker. “Hopefully he can stay ready, and, you know, I'm hoping that he's back ready to go before the 10 days are up so that we can continue to hit.”
A few weeks ago Heredia was called out by Snitker for his lack of “aggressiveness” at the plate. Heredia took the constructive criticism and came back during the series against the Cubs with a two-homer game that included an electrifying grand slam on April 18. Heredia is currently hitting .300/.429/.575 over 49 plate appearances.
Heredia was initially brought on as an emergency outfielder due to Pache being on the IL, but he quickly exceeded expectations and worked himself into the everyday lineup. Unfortunately, the Braves have seen each of their three center fielders -- Heredia, Pache and Ender Inciarte -- on the IL this season.
On April 16, Inciarte suffered a left hamstring injury while running the bases against the Cubs. Inciarte has been doing running and hitting exercises, but the center fielder has yet to be cleared for full participation.
In similar fashion, the Braves are continuing to monitor Max Fried as to when he will return from the IL. He is expected to make his return in time for Tuesday’s start, but Snitker and the team are still discussing when to unleash their star lefty.