Evan Gattis hasn’t played a full game for the Braves since September 7 because of strep throat and, more recently, a kidney stone. In that time, Atlanta has lost 12-of-14 games and been completely eliminated from postseason contention. But there will be no early shutdown for the 28-year-old slugging catcher.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gattis is scheduled to return to the Braves’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series finale against the Pirates. Gattis is only expected to play about five innings, serving as the catcher for spot starter David Hale, who’s filling in for Mike Minor.
Minor was officially shut down earlier this week due to inflammation in his left (throwing) shoulder.
Gattis is batting .268/.322/.503 with 22 home runs in 102 games played this season for the Braves. There has been talk of him being traded this winter to open up starting catching duties for Christian Bethancourt.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”