The Braves announced Wednesday that outfielder Cristian Pache has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. It’s the second time this year the top prospect has been sent to Gwinnett for further refinement, which isn’t a surprise given that the 22-year-old has batted just .111/.152/.206 in 68 plate appearances. Pache is considered an all-world defender with substantial upside at the plate, but his offensive game is nowhere near as polished as his defense at this point. With Pache down and Marcell Ozuna both injured and facing assault allegations, the Braves’ outfield mix is comprised by Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte, Guillermo Heredia, Abraham Almonte and Ehire Adrianza. Top prospect Drew Waters is hitting reasonably well in Triple-A but is striking out at a rather unpalatable 28 percent clip there.
Some more news and notes out of Atlanta…
- Braves icon (and current assistant hitting coach) Chipper Jones weighed in on Freddie Freeman’s contractual situation in a chat with The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz. Jones stresses that he’s only offering his own opinion but wonders whether the Liberty Media-owned Braves are waiting to see what 2021 attendance numbers look like before making a market-value offer to Freeman. The Hall of Famer also calls Liberty Media an “absentee owner” that is “rooted in trying to make money off the franchise” more so than conventional ownership structures. Atlanta fans will want to check out the column for Jones’ full, lengthy quotes on the matter. Freeman, 31, didn’t start the 2021 season particularly well, but he’s hitting a much more characteristic .284/.411/.527 over his past 20 games (90 plate appearances). He’s scheduled to become a free agent for the first time this winter after the $135MM contract extension he signed eight years ago draws to a close.
- Right-hander Shane Greene’s most recent schedule appearance in Gwinnett was pushed a couple of days due to soreness in his back, manager Brian Snitker told reporters Monday (link via MLB.com’s Mark Bowman). The veteran reliever was able to take the mound yesterday for his third appearance since re-signing with Atlanta, however. Thus far, Greene has rattled off 3 1/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts and one walk allowed. Snitker noted Monday that there’s still no timetable for when Greene is expected to join the Major League bullpen. After sitting out until early May, Greene is effectively going through a makeshift Spring Training in Gwinnett right now.