On the day of the MLB trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves are close to making a move within the organization. Outfielder Sam Hilliard will start his rehab stint with the Gwinnett Stripers on Tuesday night.
Hilliard suffered a heel injury that paved the way for a spot on the IL a couple weeks ago.
When he is ready to return to the Major League roster, Hilliard will be available to make a positive impact in multiple ways.
A .236 average with 3 home runs and 4 stolen bases in 40 games may not be all-star caliber numbers but that is a small sample size from a role player.
Hilliard provides Atlanta with a left-handed bat that has some pop, especially in a hitters' park like Truist. Adding this bench depth for the Braves is huge.
Hilliard is a solid defender as well that can play all three outfield positions and could even serve as a designated hitter if there is a favorable matchup.
With the trade deadline passed as of 6 p.m. ET tonight, having Hilliard as an option is a luxury for Braves manager Brian Snitker in the unfortunate event of an injury or if one of his regulars needs a day off.
The Braves will most likely take their time and make sure Hilliard is truly 100% healthy before he gets called back up. Eddie Rosario and Kevin Pillar can hold down left field (and likely will continue even after Hilliard's return).
Atlanta also traded for utility player Nicky Lopez earlier this week who has been known for playing all infield positions but could very well cover an outfield spot in the event of an emergency.
Hilliard's name will not be found in the box score very often in the Braves' last 58 regular season games but when it does, he will likely be making a positive impact one way or another.