Inciarte optimistic for weekend return

Outfielder injured right groin stealing a base in Friday's loss

Inciarte optimistic for weekend return

ATLANTA -- Ender Inciarte exited Friday's 7-5, 12-inning loss to the Marlins before the top of the sixth inning with a right groin injury. Following the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said the outfielder is day to day.

Inciarte left the contest shortly after beating out a ground ball and then sliding hard into second base on a steal in the fifth. He stayed in the game as a runner and scored on Chase d'Arnaud's two-run homer moments later.

But when the Braves took the field for the top of the sixth, Jace Peterson entered the game at second base and d'Arnaud replaced Inciarte in center field.

On Saturday, Inciarte said he was starting to feel pain in his groin as he ran from first to second on the steal. Inciarte added that he still felt some soreness, but he hoped to come off the bench on Saturday and return to the lineup for Sunday's game at Fort Bragg. He did not appear in Saturday's 9-1 win.

"I feel like it's a minor thing, just a precautionary thing," Inciarte said. "… [Snitker] felt like [coming out of the game] was the best decision to make, and I also feel like that because the last time I didn't stop playing, and then I got hurt for a month."

The 25-year-old struggled with injuries earlier in the season, as he was placed on the disabled list on April 10 with a left hamstring strain. The injury sidelined him for 26 games.

Snitker said Inciarte was optimistic about staying in Friday's game, but the manager opted to remove him for safety concerns.

"He was like, 'Yeah, I don't feel too bad,'" Snitker said. "I was like, 'If you go out there, somebody hits a ball over your head and that thing goes, you're [out] six to eight weeks, so let's just kind of err on the safe side.'

"We'll take a day tomorrow and re-evaluate him."

Inciarte is batting .236 with 11 extra-base hits in 52 games this year. Over his past 13 games, he is batting .265 with six runs scored and three stolen bases.

On the defensive end, Inciarte entered Friday's game tied for the National League lead with nine outfield assists, two shy of the Major League lead.

Atlanta is already down one starting outfielder after Mallex Smith fractured his left thumb on June 19 against the Mets. He was placed on the DL on June 21 and was expected to miss 8-10 weeks, although his return could be pushed back if he undergoes surgery.

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