The Atlanta Braves will be without Evan Gattis for the next two weeks after the catcher was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging thoracic disk.
Gattis, 27, missed his fourth straight game with what the team called back spasms on Monday, a 5-3 win over the New York Mets, and is scheduled to receive an epidural on Tuesday.
In his first season as the primary catcher and second in the Major Leagues, Gattis is hitting .290 with 16 home runs and 39 runs batted in through 63 games and 224 at bats. He sports a .900 OPS this season and was in line to potentially earn an All-Star berth. However, that likely won’t come now that he’s out for the next two weeks.
Playing behind Brain McCann as a rookie in 2013, the 6-4, 260-pound catcher showed prodigious power last season and the decision to let McCann walk in free agency was made much easier with Gattis waiting in the wings. Gattis hit .24321 home runs and 62 runs batted in as a rookie in 105 games and 354 at bats.
With Gattis out, rookie Christian Bethancourt made his first home start on tonight against the Mets, going 1-3 with a run scored, and is expected to platoon with journeyman catcher Gerald Laird at behind the plate until Gattis returns.
The Braves hold a half game lead over the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East and have won seven of their last 10 games. They hope to maintain their perch in the East until their power-hitting backstop returns in mid-July.