Activated McCann tops Braves' reinforcements

Veteran catcher returns from IL as roster expands

September 1st, 2019

ATLANTA -- When rosters expanded with September’s arrival on Sunday, the Braves activated from the injured list and recalled three players -- utility man Johan Camargo and right-handed relievers Chad Sobotka and Jeremy Walker -- from Triple-A Gwinnett.

McCann, who had been sidelined since Aug. 21 with a sprained left knee, will resume his duties as the Braves’ primary catcher. The seven-time All-Star will share the catching duties with fellow seasoned veterans Tyler Flowers and Francisco Cervelli.

Austin Riley, Adam Duvall, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson are among the other players who could be added to Atlanta’s roster within the next week or two. The Braves want to provide each of them a chance to continue drawing at-bats while Gwinnett competes in the postseason.

Patrick Weigel, A.J. Minter, Darren O’Day and Huascar Ynoa might also be added later this month to provide bullpen depth, but it is highly unlikely each of them will return to the Major League level this year.

O’Day, who is on the 60-day IL with a forearm strain, must prove he is durable and effective enough to warrant the Braves making a move on their 40-man roster. Minter’s stock continued to plummet, as Triple-A opponents hit .300 and produced a .794 OPS against him in 11 August appearances.

The Braves are also hoping to activate Nick Markakis (left wrist fracture) and Ender Inciarte (right hamstring strain) before the end of the season. But neither of the veteran outfielders will be ready during September’s first half.

Here is a look at some of the players who could make an impact after being added to Atlanta’s expanded roster:

Arrival: Riley hit 14 homers and produced a .930 OPS through the first 42 games of his big league career before he constructed a .517 OPS while striking out 45.3 percent of the time over the next 24 games. A partially torn right knee ligament likely prevented him from being optioned to Gwinnett in August. But now that he’s healthy, the Braves want him to continue compiling at-bats -- with the hope he could return and re-establish himself as one of their everyday outfielders. Riley entered Sunday having gone 7-for-22 (.318) with two doubles and five strikeouts over the five rehab games he’s played for Gwinnett.

Breakout: Sobotka arrived late last year and earned an unexpected spot on the postseason roster. Weigel could follow the same path this year. The 25-year-old reliever has battled some control issues during his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, but opponents have hit just .193 against him at the Triple-A level. Since moving to Gwinnett’s bullpen in late July, he has posted a 1.56 ERA -- limiting opponents to a .145 batting average, while generating a 3.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Something to prove: If Camargo can make some valuable contributions down the stretch, he can salvage what has felt like a lost season. The versatile infielder was hitting just .222 with a .612 OPS when he was optioned to Gwinnett two weeks ago. He responded well to the demotion, hitting .483 over 14 games. Now, the switch-hitter returns with renewed confidence and a chance to provide valuable depth to the bench.

Name to watch: Wright and Wilson both rank among the game’s top pitching prospects. If they are added to Atlanta’s roster later this month, they could fill some innings in the bullpen or possibly make spot starts that could ease the workloads of Mike Soroka and Max Fried as they conclude their first full seasons at the Major League level.