In 2018, the Braves found themselves in a tricky situation where both of their starting catchers were ailing. Tyler Flowers had to miss a chunk of time with an injury and during that time, Kurt Suzuki was hit by a pitch that caused him to miss a couple of games. Understandably, things got a little weird for a while from a roster management position, but the Braves pulled out of that just fine.
Flash forward to tonight and Atlanta finds themselves in a similar situation. Brian McCann was injured on a play at third base as he came up from a slide grabbing his hamstring. Given the word one assumes he yelled as he limped off the field, most immediately assumed that he might need some time on the injured list to get healthy. Tyler Flowers came in and later on was hit by a pitch in his throwing hand (again, eerily similar). He stayed in the game, but the similarities were pretty spooky.
Now, we know what the Braves immediate plans are to deal with their currently fragility at catcher.
Some assumed that Raffy Lopez, the Braves’ other catcher at Triple-A, would get the call, Jackson is a guy that is already on the Braves’ 40-man roster and is an easier roster move. As of this moment, Tyler Flowers does not appear set to miss a significant amount of time, but we should see Alex Jackson make his major league debut tomorrow to give his hand a couple of games to heal up.
Alex Jackson had a rough year at the plate last year where he posted a .647 OPS across two levels, but he did post an .808 OPS in 2017 and has some real raw power to go along with improved defensive ability as he has transitioned back to catcher when he joined the Braves organization. It isn’t a perfect solution, but could be a valuable learning experience for Jackson. Jackson was added to the Braves’ 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this offseason.
As for McCann, this is a big blow for him. He had started the year out well and seemed to be doing good work with the Braves’ young pitching corps. McCann had a lot of trouble staying on the field last year with knee issues, but looked good this season until this latest setback.