680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – With the Braves set to take the field in a little over four hours, Brian Snitker announced the team will be without both their starting catchers for Opening Day. Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers are not in New York with the team, as both are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 in the Atlanta area. The good news, both players have tested negative. However, the team will start the season with their third and fourth catchers as both Alex Jackson and William Contreras were recalled.
As we have alluded to so often over the last few weeks, this will be part of the new normal when it comes to baseball and sports in general in 2020. There will be days when players either don’t show up to the ballpark or simply aren’t allowed in if they don’t pass the testing protocols. In years past, a player could have a slight ailment but attempt to play through it. Obviously, that all changes with the new health and safety guidelines implemented this season.
For now, the team will move forward to Jackson as their primary catcher with Contreras as an option as well. The 24 year old Jackson spent the majority of last season at Triple-A Gwinnett, making four Big League starts behind the plate. Offensively, he’s hitless in his first 13 at bats in the Majors, and will certainly face a steep challenge facing the two time, reigning Cy Young Award winner in Jacob deGrom this afternoon.