April 17, 2024

Braves’ Sean Murphy exits with oblique injury; IL stint likely

PHILADELPHIA — Atlanta Braves All-Star catcher Sean Murphy left Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies with left oblique tightness after taking an awkward swing in the top of the seventh inning.

Murphy, 29, will undergo further imaging to determine the severity of the injury but is expected to be placed on the injured list. He was replaced by veteran Travis d’Arnaud, who was an All-Star in 2022.

“I hate it for him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after his team’s 9-3 win. “He had a really nice end to his spring. It’s just one of those freak things, you know, that happen in baseball. Thank God we got a guy of Travis’ caliber to step in now.”

With Murphy sidelined, d’Arnaud will return to starting duties.

“I think of the work that Murph put in, and for something like that to happen on Opening Day, it stinks,” d’Arnaud said. “As for me, it’s warm up, go play, cool down and try to win a ballgame.”

The Braves did just that in the building where their season ended last year and the season before.

Preseason Cy Young favorite Spencer Strider carried over a great spring training into the regular season, striking out eight in five innings while giving up two runs in the fifth. He left trailing 2-0, but after the Braves tied it 2-2 in the seventh, they exploded for seven more runs in the eighth. Most of the damage was done off Phillies reliever Jose Alvarado, who gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

After posting 139 RBIs last season, first baseman Matt Olson picked up where he left off, driving in his first three of 2024 with a bases-loaded double in the decisive inning. Friday was his 30th birthday.

“I didn’t know it was his birthday,” Snitker said with a smile. “He shows up to play every day. He’s consistent in his work and preparation. He maintains an even-keel. He’s one of these guys that lets the results speak for themselves.”

After celebrating the win, the conversation turned back to the impact of Murphy’s injury. It’s a tough loss to swallow even though the Braves have a capable replacement.

“You don’t care who’s catching because you have two of the best,” Strider said. “I feel for Sean. He’s upset. Something so random.”

Snitker added: “We’re blessed to have two No. 1’s on our club. I just hate it for Murph.”