The Braves are hopeful that outfielder Ender Inciarte will be ready for activation early next week, manager Brian Snitker tells reporters including MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Inciarte is working to recover from a hamstring strain.
When the injury initially occurred one month ago, it was estimated at a four to six week recovery timeframe. Inciarte is already hitting and running, so it seems he’s at the early end of the spectrum.
That’s great news for the Atlanta organization, particularly since the organization just lost two top reserve players to injury. Optimally, Inciarte would get at least a decent run of live action at the tail end of the regular season to ramp up for the playoffs.
Trouble is, there’s only a brief window left. And the Braves must balance the desire to get the outfielder reps — and assess his readiness to contribute — with the need to avoid further injury. As Snitker puts it, “reports are good” on Inciarte’s progress as he ramps up, “but what he does in drills is a lot different than taxing it and playing in games.”
No matter what happens with Inciarte, the Braves are well covered in the outfield. In addition to star Ronald Acuna, the club has welcomed back Nick Markakis from his own lengthy rehab stint and added speed-and-glove switch-hitter Billy Hamilton. With lefty bench bat Matt Joyce also in the mix for a postseason roster spot, along with right-handed hitters Adam Duvall and Austin Riley, it’ll be interesting to see how the outfield logjam is resolved if Inciarte is able to get back and show he’s healthy.