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Camargo needs DL stint to prep for season

Third baseman to miss at least first 6 games in return from back injury
MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Brian Snitker confirmed Wednesday night that third baseman Johan Camargo will not have enough time to prepare himself for the start of the regular season.

The Braves have not yet officially placed Camargo on the 10-day disabled list, but after a 3-2 win over the Tigers, Snitker said the third baseman will most likely miss the first week of the regular season while recovering from the back and right side discomfort that developed last week.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Brian Snitker confirmed Wednesday night that third baseman Johan Camargo will not have enough time to prepare himself for the start of the regular season.

The Braves have not yet officially placed Camargo on the 10-day disabled list, but after a 3-2 win over the Tigers, Snitker said the third baseman will most likely miss the first week of the regular season while recovering from the back and right side discomfort that developed last week.

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Snitker initially hoped Camargo would be ready to return to the lineup Wednesday. But it looks like the switch-hitting infielder will not be ready to play in a game before the Braves' exhibition against the Yankees on Monday night at SunTrust Park.

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"After we evaluated it, what we ended up looking at was he probably will only have one game to play and that will not be enough," Snitker said. "We'll just make sure he is good. That's the important thing."

Camargo has been sidelined since March 13, when he left a game with what was initially called back stiffness. Because the discomfort is near the right oblique, the Braves have taken a cautious approach. The ailment seems similar to the one that caused Dansby Swanson to miss a couple of weeks last spring.

Once Camargo is placed on the DL, the Braves can backdate the transaction to Monday (March 26) -- three days before the start of the regular season. So, at minimum, the he would miss six games.

"He would stay [at the Spring Training complex] and hit," Snitker said. "It's not like it would be a long time."

Braves Spring Training info

Ruiz and Charlie Culberson would be the top options to play third base in Camargo's absence. Switch-hitting utility man Danny Santana's ability to play the hot corner could enhance the likelihood of him making the Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee.

Last true tune-up
After making his two previous starts against Minor Leaguers, Brandon McCarthy reintroduced himself to his big league teammates as he limited the Tigers to two runs -- one earned -- over six innings Wednesday.

"That was just a game where you try to pitch and execute as many pitches as you can," McCarthy said. Other than being emotionless and being a spring game, it felt just like a regular-season start."

McCarthy will start Monday's game in Atlanta, but he'll complete just a few innings in preparation of his March 31 regular-season debut against the Phillies.

Video: DET@ATL: McCarthy strikes out Mahtook to end frame

Because the Braves' organization had a scheduled off-day on Tuesday, Mike Foltynewicz had to wait until Wednesday to pitch in a Minor League game against the Pirates. Foltynewicz will pitch two or three innings against the Tigers on Sunday to get himself lined up to make his March 30 season debut against Philadelphia.

Bullpen picture
Closer Arodys Vizcaino, A.J. Minter, Jose Ramirez, Dan Winkler, Sam Freeman and Peter Moylan stand as the locks for the Braves' projected eight-man bullpen. Snitker said he might fill the final two spots with long relievers.

If the Braves carry two long relievers, this would create a way to carry Scott Kazmir until the Braves need a fifth starter, possibly not until April 10. Kazmir and non-roster invitee Anibal Sanchez are battling for the rotation spot that had been reserved for Luiz Gohara, who will be sidelined until at least May with a sprained left ankle.

Video: ATL@HOU: Sanchez strikes out Gonzalez in Braves debut

Because Sanchez signed a Minor League deal, the Braves could have him pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett until a fifth starter is needed. Kazmir would have to consent to a non-injury related stint in the Minors.

Injury updates
Chase Whitley, who came to camp bidding for a roster spot, will likely begin the season on the DL as he returns from a staph infection that affected his heart rate as recently as last week.

Whitley was cleared to throw a batting practice session on Wednesday afternoon. It marked the first time he threw against batters since developing a blister on his right heel in early March. The blister healed externally, but the internal infection spread to his lymph nodes, causing his right leg to go numb as he attended a festival with his wife, a nurse who quickly diagnosed the condition.

Up next
Some of the final roster battles will be extended when the Braves travel to Jupiter to play the Cardinals on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET (listen live on Gameday Audio). Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Ruiz and Santana will be in the lineup. Long-relief candidates Aaron Blair and Lucas Sims are among those scheduled to pitch.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Johan Camargo