The Braves have been hit with brutal injury luck early in 2023 with Max Fried, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Harris II on the IL. Time for players to step up.
Even if it’s been a good overall start for the Atlanta Braves in the 2023 season, it’s not been smooth sailing for one of the National League favorites.
Early in the campaign, the Braves have been absolutely rocked by injuries. First, it was Max Fried leaving his Opening Day start with a hamstring injury that subsequently landed the southpaw ace of the staff on the IL. Then, 2022 NL Rookie of the Year and budding star Michael Harris II was placed on the IL with back tightness after leaving a game early. Then came a collision at the plate between Travis d’Arnaud and Rougned Odor that put the catcher on the IL as well.
And that’s not even mentioning guys like Ian Anderson, Colin McHugh, Raisel Iglesias and others who are not healthy for the Braves.
But with three star players like Fried, Harris and d’Arnaud out of the lineup or rotation for the near future, Atlanta is going to need other players to step up and rise to the occasion. Sure, the stars need to perform — that’s obvious. But these three players come to mind as being in the spotlight with the Braves’ early-season injury woes.
Atlanta Braves: 3 players that must rise to the occasion after injuries
Sean Murphy is already doing his part with Travis d’Arnaud out for the Braves
There were big hopes in The A that Sean Murphy would see a big uptick in his numbers at the plate from what he produced in Oakland given the protection in the Braves lineup that simply wasn’t there when he was with the A’s. Unfortunately, he hadn’t gotten off to the start that was hoped for and forecasted by many.
Entering the April 8 game in which d’Arnaud was injured, Murphy was hitting only .188, though he did have a solid .409 on-base percentage with his ability to consistently display a good eye and draw walks. Even still, though, with the way that d’Arnaud was hitting prior to suffering the concussion, Murphy has to pick up the slack.
The good news is that he’s already showing that. Of course, that conversation starts with the catcher’s walk-off home run in extra innings on Monday, April 10 against the Reds, an electric moment for the newcomer.
In addition to the heroics, though, Murphy also knocked two doubles on the night and accounted for another RBI, putting him at 3-for-5 with all three knocks being extra-base hits, enough to raise his average from .150 to .240 on the young season.
If the d’Arnaud injury was what Murphy needed to wake up from an early-season slump, then it will be perfectly timed for him to get things cooking now.