d'Arnaud ready to fill in at all positions

Braves utility player a top option off bench after injury to Rodriguez

d'Arnaud ready to fill in at all positions

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After A.J. Pierzynski was ejected from a game last year, Chase d'Arnaud responded to a request for an emergency catcher volunteer by saying, "Well, it's in my blood, my brother catches, so I can do it."

The versatile d'Arnaud, 30, hasn't yet gotten into a game to fill the role his younger brother Travis performs for the Mets, but after being removed from a game that required extra innings last year, he rushed to the Braves bullpen and caught Jim Johnson's warmup pitches.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"He throws such a heavy sinker, I had to make sure I didn't allow the ball to hit my thumb and break it," d'Arnaud said.

d'Arnaud's willingness to do whatever necessary and utilize his athleticism at a variety of positions has aided him dating back to 2014, when he moved to the outfield once it was clear the Pirates no longer saw him as an everyday middle infielder at the Major League level. He successfully navigated center field that year and spent some time at third base.

In the process, d'Arnaud developed the versatility that could prove quite valuable as he and Jace Peterson will be asked to compensate for what the Braves lost when Sean Rodriguez underwent left shoulder surgery last week.

Kemp, regulars to start Saturday's spring opener

d'Arnaud stands as the primary backup for shortstop Dansby Swanson and a backup option at each of the other infield and outfield positions. First base is the only position d'Arnaud has never manned during his professional career, but he will introduce himself to the position during the Grapefruit League season, simply to prepare for the possibility of having to fill in for Freddie Freeman at some point during the regular season.

"Playing multiple positions is key for me, especially playing in the National League," d'Arnaud said. "It's been crucial to my success. I'd like to keep playing, and I know having all of that stuff in my arsenal will help me be a more attractive player."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.