Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Braves' bench bolstered by Freeman's return

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- The return of Braves star and newly minted third baseman Freddie Freeman has invigorated the team's quest to push the Nationals for the National League East crown and created a domino effect that could result in an enhanced bench.

Freeman's return to the Braves lineup Tuesday against the Astros sent primary third baseman Johan Camargo to the bench. Camargo held his own at the hot corner, showing his long-term potential by providing consistent defense and a capable bat in the lineup. He entered Tuesday batting .276 with 24 hits and 12 RBIs in 87 at-bats.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- The return of Braves star and newly minted third baseman Freddie Freeman has invigorated the team's quest to push the Nationals for the National League East crown and created a domino effect that could result in an enhanced bench.

Freeman's return to the Braves lineup Tuesday against the Astros sent primary third baseman Johan Camargo to the bench. Camargo held his own at the hot corner, showing his long-term potential by providing consistent defense and a capable bat in the lineup. He entered Tuesday batting .276 with 24 hits and 12 RBIs in 87 at-bats.

View Full Game Coverage

Braves manager Brian Snitker mentioned that Camargo could see more time off the bench in a utility role moving forward. Camargo has played a few games at second base and shortstop as well.

"I have been really pleased and this is great that he had this opportunity," Snitker said. "He is a really valuable guy off the bench with versatility and everything that he brings. This has been a good experience for him and he has done really well. I think he is a part of our future going forward."

The Braves have some interesting options to spell their starters when needed. With Camargo heading to the bench, the Braves also have catcher Kurt Suzuki and outfielders Danny Santana and Lane Adams as reserves.

The quartet has played a pivotal role in the Braves' resurgence in the absence of Freeman and are hitting a combined .241 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs. It is possible the Braves could employ more situational pinch-hitting opportunities since the bench is more potent than anticipated earlier in the season.

"All of the sudden, it is pretty legit," Snitker said. "You have versatile players and Sean [Rodriguez] gives you the experienced guy off the bench and with the ability to go out and play."

The Braves also have hinted that Rodriguez could return later this month from a left shoulder injury that has kept him out since Spring Training. He is on a rehab assignment working through the Minor Leagues.

Rodriguez's impending return could ease the potential loss of key starters like second baseman Brandon Phillips, should the Braves decide to move his expiring contract at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"[Rodriguez] may come to me in a couple of weeks and say that he is ready to go," Snitker said. "He may need the full rehab schedule that they have for him."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves, Lane Adams, Johan Camargo, Danny Santana, Kurt Suzuki