ATLANTA -- It did not take Ender Inciarte long to show Braves fans they once again have a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, conjuring memories of when Andruw Jones played in Atlanta.
Inciarte caused some jaws to drop with the acrobatic double play he created during the fourth inning of Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field. His diving grab of Ryan Zimmerman's sinking liner will likely stand as one of the best catches by an outfielder this season.
"I don't know how many center fielders can make that play in this league," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Asked after the game whether he had seen the catch, Inciarte smiled and said, "Yeah, I like watching the highlights."
After Bryce Harper opened the fourth inning with a single, Inciarte ranged far into right-center field and never hesitated as he dove through the air to rob what seemed to be a definite base hit. The center fielder then promptly rose and fired a pinpoint throw to first base to easily double up Harper, who had rounded second base by the time the ball was caught.
"I always mess around with Zimmerman," Inciarte said. "When I got on base, I said, 'I don't like doing that to you, but I got to do it. He said, 'No, no, good job man. I just hated when you made the throw because that was even better.'"
When the Braves acquired Inciarte this offseason as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Shelby Miller to the D-backs, they knew they were gaining a special defender. Inciarte ranked second among Major League outfielders with 29 Defensive Runs Saved last year.
"I love being the center fielder," Inciarte said. "I take pride in my job when I'm out there. Everybody knows I like to play defense. Whenever I'm out there, I'm going to do my best to steal some hits. I know the pitchers appreciate that."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.