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Inciarte scratched with tight left groin

Center fielder expected back Saturday; Foltynewicz goes five scoreless
MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Minus Luiz Gohara, the Braves have gotten through Spring Training in relatively healthy fashion. But getting reacquainted to the daily grind has recently taken its toll on a couple of key lineup members.

When Ender Inciarte reported to ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex for Thursday's 8-1 win over the Tigers, the Braves opted to cautiously scratch him from the lineup due to a tight left groin. The two-time National League Gold Glove Award winner is expected to return to action on Saturday.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Minus Luiz Gohara, the Braves have gotten through Spring Training in relatively healthy fashion. But getting reacquainted to the daily grind has recently taken its toll on a couple of key lineup members.

When Ender Inciarte reported to ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex for Thursday's 8-1 win over the Tigers, the Braves opted to cautiously scratch him from the lineup due to a tight left groin. The two-time National League Gold Glove Award winner is expected to return to action on Saturday.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was more of a precautionary thing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He wanted to play, but I told him he's got plenty of at-bats. I'm happy with where all the position players are with their at-bats."

Late last week, less than 10 minutes after a reporter had pointed out how relatively healthy the team had been through the first month, Snitker called media members over to the home dugout to reveal Gohara had just sprained his left ankle while completing fielding drills on a back field.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gohara, who was also slowed by a left groin strain during the early portion of camp, will likely not be ready to join Atlanta's rotation before May. For now, he has accounted for the team's only significant ailment. But the injury list has added a few new members this week.

Johan Camargo was removed from Monday's game against the Phillies with what was described as a stiff back. With the discomfort being near the oblique muscle, the Braves have decided that their projected starting third baseman likely won't return to action before Wednesday.

Right-handed reliever Chase Whitley has not pitched since Feb. 27 because of a staph infection on his right heel. But Whitley, who was bidding to open the season as a long reliever, is expected to resume pitching in games next week.

Video: DET@ATL: Foltynewicz strikes out five batters

Efficient Folty

With the start of the regular season less than two weeks away, Mike Foltynewicz seems to have found comfort with the quieter windup he has displayed while not allowing a run during the 14 innings he has completed this spring.

Foltynewicz was at his best on Thursday against a Tigers lineup that included Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos. The 26-year-old hurler faced one over the minimum and did not allow a hit while recording five strikeouts over five scoreless innings.

"When you are feeling this good and this confident, you wish you could go get out there [in the regular season] right now," Foltynewicz said. "But there's a lot to work on, and I'm excited to work on them and get better so that I can go out in the regular season and do what I'm doing right now."

With his new windup, Foltynewicz places his right foot in front of the rubber and takes a slight step toward first base with his left foot before moving toward the plate. The change has lessened the frequency with which he falls off-balance toward the first-base side. Consequently, he has gained more consistent command of his fastball, slider, changeup and curveball.

Seldom does a pitcher have four pitches working within one start, and Foltynewicz learned Thursday how effective he can be when his fastball command is not at an optimal level. He compensated with what was the best changeup he has displayed this year.

"That was really good today," Snitker said. "He was just under control of everything. When you throw like he does, you don't have to pinpoint. He threw some really good changeups. His breaking ball was good. It was just a real nice outing."

Roster battle

Danny Santana solidified his bid for an Opening Day roster spot as he homered on his way to notching another multi-hit performance in Thursday's win. The switch-hitting outfielder has hit .371 (13-for-35) with two doubles and a pair of homers.

While Santana's production has been good, his candidacy is strengthened with the familiarity gained as he spent last season's final five months with the Braves. His production faded as he battled ailments during the second half, and he was removed from the 40-man roster this past winter. But he rejoined the organization with a Minor League deal, and now he has a strong shot to open the season as the backup outfielder.

"He's a good player," Snitker said. "That's why I was glad we brought him back. He'll fight for a position, literally. You knew he'd be right in the mix, and he is. That's good. He's a skilled player. We liked him last year. With our situation here, when we use that eight-man bullpen, he's the kind of guy you need on that bench."

Up next

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies will be with the Braves when they travel to Bradenton, Fla., to play the Pirates on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV and MLB Network. Bullpen candidate Aaron Blair will get the start. Brandon McCarthy will stay back at the club's camp to pitch in a Minor League game.

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

Atlanta Braves, Mike Foltynewicz, Ender Inciarte, Danny Santana