Braves News: Sean Murphy returns, Acuña Jr. placed on IL, and a surprising call-up

The Atlanta Braves kicked off Memorial Day by announcing several roster moves.
Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Atlanta Braves Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

A day after the Atlanta Braves announced the devastating news that Ronald Acuña Jr. would miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, the team made several roster moves.

After missing nearly two months, the Braves activated catcher Sean Murphy from the injured list and placed 2023 MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. on the IL. The team also surprisingly called up outfielder J.P. Martinez and designated Joey Wendle for assignment. Wendle had just signed with Atlanta on May 24 but he now joins the likes of Tanner Roark and Ryan Goins on the list of phantom Braves.

What the flurry of roster moves mean for the Braves

Sean Murphy returning is huge for the Braves. The 2023 All-Star left Opening Day after taking an awkward swing and has been on the shelf since then with an oblique injury.

While Travis d'Arnaud has been excellent filling in as the full-time starter, with a 134 wRC+ and good defense, the return of Murphy will give d'Arnaud more rest as we get into the summer months.

Interestingly, Chadwick Tromp, who has been the backup catcher for the past two months, did not get sent back to Gwinnett. Tromp has been dependable for the Braves filling in for Murphy, and while he hasn't come close to Murphy's level of production, he has been worth a 0.3 fWAR in 19 games.

Tromp remaining on the active roster may indicate that the Braves might be willing to occasionally use either d'Arnaud or Murphy at DH and push Marcell Ozuna into the outfield.

Ozuna has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season but hasn't played in the field, aside from a few exhibition games at first base, since April 2, 2023.

The team also announced they were bringing J.P. Martinez up from Triple-A to replace Acuña Jr. as one of the outfielders on the active roster. The Braves acquired Martinez this offseason from the Rangers. The 28-year-old made his MLB debut last season and slashed .225/.250/.325 with Texas in 17 games. This season with Gwinnett, the lefty has slashed .265/.337/.394.

Earlier this month, Mark Bowman of wrote that the outfielder has 30-30 potential, but Martinez has only hit three home runs this season with a 26% strikeout rate.

Lastly, Joey Wendle, who joined the team on Friday, was designated for assignment. Wendle did not appear in a game with the Braves. The team moving away from him could indicate Austin Riley, who has missed the past two weeks, could be ready to play.

These were expected moves and getting Murphy back from injury and Riley eventually returning will be a huge boost to a team that has continually had the wind taken out from under their sails. They face a tough task of enduring without one of their key pieces.

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