LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Evan Gattis (back) played the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett pain-free on Thursday night. However, he is still in the process of improving his timing after an absence lasting nearly three weeks.
Gattis finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as he struggled to catch up with a few fastballs clocked at 94 mph on the radar gun at Coolray Field.
"It'll take time," Gattis said. "I think hits will be there and everything like that will come back. I'm really just happy to get through this one healthy. First time seeing live pitching, first time really trying to gear up for a fastball. In [batting practice], you just can't replicate it at game speed. So, it was really good."
Gattis has been sidelined since June 27 with a bulging thoracic disk and does not know whether he will serve as the designated hitter or catcher in his next game. Neither crouching behind the plate nor throwing bother his back.
"Swinging was the big test," Gattis said.
He grounded out in his first two at-bats, hitting into a double play in the first before bouncing a chopper to third in his second trip to the plate. He struck out in his final two appearances, but overall, he was encouraged.
"Other than striking out a couple of times, it went well," Gattis said. "Glad to get through this day, see some pitches and I feel good. I feel healthy, so hopefully, I get to catch in the next couple of days."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.