Braves hoping for good news after d'Arnaud exits with dizziness

May 18th, 2024

ATLANTA -- ’s dominant stretch ended in ugly fashion and the Braves struck out a season-high 18 times. But ’s health was the primary concern following a 3-1 loss to the Padres on Friday night at Truist Park.

“With his history, I think you’re always concerned,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.”

d’Arnaud exited because of the dizziness he felt after his mask was smashed by a foul ball in the fifth inning. The initial tests indicated he didn’t suffer a concussion, and Snitker labeled the injury to be a “head contusion.”

But given d’Arnaud has been diagnosed with four concussions throughout his career, any head trauma should be concerning. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

“I saw him for 30 seconds there after the game and he seemed fine,” Braves first baseman said. “He definitely wasn’t as much in a daze as he was [when he suffered a concussion] last year. So hopefully that’s good and hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”

d’Arnaud didn’t speak to the media after the game. The Braves said they didn’t want to subject him to the bright TV camera lights.

d’Arnaud was hit square in the mask with a Luis Arraez foul tip to begin the fifth inning. The 35-year-old catcher turned to grab a new ball and then bowed his head. He played through the remainder of the half-inning, but was replaced by at the start of the sixth.

“He stood there on his haunches a little longer than normal,” Snitker said. “I started getting concerned when I saw that, that it might have stung him a little bit. Then he came in [the dugout] dizzy and we weren’t going to take another chance.”

Braves primary catcher has been on the injured list since straining his left oblique on Opening Day. He is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday.

Tromp could serve as Atlanta’s primary catcher until either Murphy or d’Arnaud are cleared to play again. would be a likely candidate for promotion from Triple-A Gwinnett if the Braves need to add another catcher to the active roster.

Tromp’s work as the backup over the past six weeks has given the Braves confidence he would be fine serving temporarily as the primary catcher. Chris Sale is among the veteran pitchers who have praised Tromp’s game-calling and catching skills.

“He’s done a nice job,” Snitker said. “All the pitchers like throwing to him. We’re very fortunate. We have three guys we can throw back there who can be really, really good.”

Tromp said he has had two concussions during his career. Like Olson, he’s not a doctor. But his postgame conversation with d’Arnaud left him feeling like it might just take a couple days of rest.

“He was in good spirits, so hopefully, he’s good to go tomorrow,” Tromp said.

This has been a tough week on the injury front for the Braves. still wasn’t available on Friday, so there’s a chance his left side soreness will keep him sidelined for a fifth straight game on Saturday.

Snitker has already ruled d’Arnaud out for Saturday’s game. If the Braves know he needs at least a couple of days to recover, they could place him on the seven-day concussion IL. This would allow them to add León to the roster and avoid attempting to get through multiple games with just one true catcher available.

When d’Arnaud might be available to play again takes a backseat to how this head trauma or any subsequent blow to the head could influence his quality of life away from the field.

d’Arnaud suffered his fourth reported concussion during a collision with the Padres’ Rougned Odor on April 8, 2023. His third reported concussion occurred in 2014, when he was hit by Alfonso Soriano’s backswing.

Knowing his history makes it easy to understand why d’Arnaud’s health was more concerning for the Braves than their strikeout total or the fact Fried allowed three runs and nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. He entered the game having allowed seven hits over his past four starts combined. The only other Modern Era pitchers to do this while completing at least 28 innings in this span were Johnny Vander Meer (1938) and Matt Cain (2007).

Fried will be back doing his thing against the Cubs on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. When d’Arnaud will return is unknown. But how he recovers from this latest blow to the head is far more important.

“He didn’t seem too, too worried about it,” Olson said. “So that’s a good sign. But yeah, that’s the scary part of catching.”