The Braves announced today that they’ve selected the contract of veteran backstop Chris Stewart. Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution first indicated that the veteran backstop was returning to the Majors (via Twitter). Stewart has been playing at Triple-A since being outrighted earlier this season.
The reason for the promotion seems to be an injury to catcher Kurt Suzuki, which he sustained last night upon being hit on the elbow/triceps area by a fastball from Pirates righty Clay Holmes. Fortunately, the Atlanta organization announced earlier today that Suzuki was cleared of a fracture and has been diagnosed only with a left triceps contusion. Whether a stint on the DL will be required is not yet known, but if one is deemed necessary, it doesn’t seem that it’ll come today. Outfielder Michael Reed was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to open roster space for Stewart’s return.
Stewart, 36, rarely strikes out but has never hit much in the majors and has struggled in particular since the start of the 2016 season. He’s slashing only .209/.287/.269 this year in 152 Triple-A plate appearances with Gwinnett. Still, Stewart is regarded as a sturdy, defensive-minded reserve option to have on hand and will be trusted to support Tyler Flowers as needed while Suzuki is unavailable. He’s gone 10-for-27 (37 percent) in halting stolen bases at the Triple-A level this season and has a solid track record in terms of pitch framing.