The biggest objective in Spring Training is to escape Florida without any significant injuries, and while the Braves have done that so far (despite a minor blip in the case of Justin Upton on Wednesday), another significant contributor suffered a setback on Thursday.
Gerald Laird left today’s game with a lower back strain. He is day-to-day. #Braves
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) February 27, 2014
Catcher Gerald Laird made the start against Detroit in the team’s second Spring Training game, and received an at-bat in the 1st inning. However, Laird made an unplanned exit after that first frame, and the team announced that he suffered a lower back strain. In all fairness, this is a minor injury by all accounts, but you never want to see somebody with Laird’s age and importance have any sort of lingering problem, and it’s a tad worrisome.
The 34-year-old is projected as the primary backup to Evan Gattis this season, and he was highly effective as a member of the 2013 team, hitting .281/.367/.372 in 141 plate appearances with above-average defense and game-calling behind the plate. Updates to the situation should be available in the coming days, but until then, it is safe to assume that the Braves will be careful with Laird, and that we will see plenty of the other (younger) catching options.