d'Arnaud proving to be important piece for Braves

Utility man continues to impress with 2 hits off Bumgarner, strong defense

d'Arnaud proving to be important piece for Braves

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker spent the past two seasons watching Chase d'Arnaud play in Triple-A against his Gwinnett Braves, and the skipper walked away each time aware of his potential.

So when Atlanta signed d'Arnaud to a Minor League deal this past offseason, Snitker knew what type of player the organization was getting.

"I saw a kid with a lot of skills," said Snitker after Thursday's 6-0 loss to the Giants at Turner Field. "Skills play here. He can run, he swings the bat a little bit, he's versatile, he's got enough arm strength and he's a very athletic guy. And he can be a good piece on a Major League team."

Since being called up to Atlanta from Gwinnett on May 2, d'Arnaud has consistently proven he can be a significant piece for the Braves. That was the case once again on Thursday, as he posted two of the team's four hits -- both off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner -- while also playing solid defense at second base.

"He's done a good job," Snitker said. "He keeps swinging the bat well. He made some nice plays in the field, real rangy type stuff. I've said it all along: The guy is an athletic guy, and he's a pretty little player. We just keep him part of the mix, and he's a very valuable guy on our club."

Over his past 13 games, d'Arnaud, the older brother of Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud, is batting .372 (16-for-43). He's hitting .351 for the year, which is well above his career average of .237.

His recent success at the plate was highlighted by a career-high three hits against the Phillies on May 21.

d'Arnaud's shown his ability to play multiple positions in the field, as well. In 19 games, he's appeared at four positions, more than anyone on Atlanta's roster.

"Every opportunity that I'm out there, I'm looking forward to doing something special," said d'Arnaud, who has played second base, third base, shortstop and right field this season.

"I just want to get out there and contribute. Lately, I'm noticing when lefties are starting, I'm usually getting a start. And when it's righties, it's a hit-or-miss thing. I'm happy with the playing time."

With infielder Gordon Beckham sidelined with a left hamstring strain he sustained on Wednesday night, d'Arnaud might be even more valuable to the Braves as they navigate the next couple of weeks.

"It still hurts right there, because Gordon was playing so well and was kind of right in there in the middle of everything we were doing," Snitker said. "But it's nice to have a guy who has that versatility that's on your club, has already been here, is part of the team and can help out like that."

Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.