LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The good news about Evan Gattis’ sore right quadriceps muscle was that it wasn’t strained near his surgically repaired knee, and the Braves catcher said he could’ve played if Wednesday’s game had been a regular-season contest.
Gattis was scratched from the lineup for the Grapefruit League game against the Yankees with what was diagnosed as a mild right quad strain. He said it was at the top of the muscle, while pointing to a spot near the hip.
“Could have played today, just scared of (hitting) a swinging bunt and then trying to bust it to first,” said Gattis, who hurt the leg during Monday’s game against the Astros. “I noticed it (while) scoring from first on Dan (Uggla’s)’s triple. The cat grabbed me a little bit. I did run out a double after that, so I don’t think it’s too bad.”
Gattis had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October to remove a bone chip that had bothered him sporadically for years. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was careful not to push Gattis too much in the first month of spring training, and didn’t catch him in consecutive games until last week.
“He kind of tweaked it a little bit,” Gonzalez said of the quad strain. “I don’t want to take a chance with it. So we scratched him.”
He plans to have Gattis start about 100-110 games at catcher this season, now that Brian McCann is a Yankee and Gattis is the Braves’ primary catcher. He could also get a limited number of starts at first base and possibly a few in left field, if needed. But mostly, Gonzalez wants to have Gattis pinch-hitting or resting if he’s not catching.
Gattis is 9-for-40 (.225) with four doubles and a homer in 13 games this spring, and has 10 strikeouts with no walks.