Shawn Murphy, Braves’ All-Star catcher, lands on IL with oblique injury

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For the Atlanta Braves, the satisfaction of getting a lopsided Opening Day road win over the Philadelphia Phillies was tempered by the news that catcher Sean Murphy will go on the 10-day disabled list due to a left oblique strain.

Murphy was injured in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 9-3 victory on Friday when he swung and angled a pitch the wrong way. The 2023 All-Star immediately reached to his left and walked off the field with a team trainer moments later.

Veteran Travis D’Arnaud will handle the bulk of the catching duties until Murphy returns, which could be up to 10 days but is often too long for this type of injury. Chadwick Tromp will be recalled from Triple A to be D’Arnaud’s backup.

“I hate Murphy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said, adding that he won’t know the severity of the injury until Murphy has imaging tests Saturday. “The end of his spring was really great, he was feeling good, and it’s one of those weird things that happens in baseball. I look around and thank God we’ve got a guy of Travis’ caliber to step up now.”

D’Arnaud, 35, was a first-time All-Star with the Braves in 2022 before being relegated to a lesser role last season after Atlanta traded for Murphy from the Oakland Athletics. But D’Arnaud still made 59 starts at catcher last season.

When d’Arnaud sustained the fourth concussion of his career in April 2023 while he was on the IL, Murphy caught 16 games over a 19-game span, while Tromp caught the other three. Now, D’Arnaud will do the heavy lifting when Murphy is on the IL.

But it’s likely Tromp will catch at least a few more games while Murphy is sidelined while the older d’Arnaud was out last season. D’Arnaud caught five consecutive games last June when Murphy struggled with hamstring pain.

With two such accomplished veteran catchers, the Braves have a luxury that few other teams have.

Braves Opening Day starter Spencer Strider said, “It’s great, you don’t care who’s catching because you have the two best players in the game, no matter what.” “But I really feel for Shawn. I know he is upset. Something so random, you know, you just take a swing. This is something you do all the time, so it’s crazy that it could hurt you all of a sudden. But he’s going to make it a good thing, and he’ll be better because of it. And when we get him back, we’ll be excited.”

“I just think about the work that Murph did in spring training and the offseason, and having something like that happen on Opening Day stinks,” D’Arnaud said of handling the heavy load for the coming weeks. . I just feel bad for him. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just warm up, go play, cool down and try to win ball games. Try to keep it as simple as that.”

“When Travis went down with an injury last year, we had Murph,” Snitker said. Like I say, we’re fortunate to have two No. 1 (catchers) on our club. I’m just saying this for Murph, because he did everything right. He finished his spring really well and was excited to be here. It’s one of those things that happens.”

(Top photo of Braves catcher Sean Murphy: Brett Davis/USA TODAY)

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