Nationals-Braves postponed by rain, spoiling Pache’s debut

MLB

ATLANTA (AP)The planned major league debut for Braves top prospect Cristian Pache will have to wait.

Instead, Pache was given another first – a major league rainout.

The game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta scheduled for Wednesday night was postponed because of rain.

The teams will play a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Sept. 4. The Nationals return to Atlanta for what had been scheduled as a three-game series from Sept. 4-6.

The 21-year-old Pache was scheduled to start in left field and hit ninth.

The Braves are off Thursday, so Pache’s debut may come on Friday night when Atlanta opens a home series against Philadelphia.

Pache, long regarded as perhaps the top defensive outfielder in the organization, has risen as he has added more power to his offensive game. He hit a combined .277 with 12 homers at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett in 2019.

”I’m excited about watching that kid play,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Wednesday.

Pache was recalled from the Braves’ alternate training site on Tuesday when outfielder Nick Markakis went on the 10-day injured list after possibly being exposed to COVID-19.

The rookie has a high-profile tutor in his corner. Former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, who won 10 Gold Gloves in his career and now is a special assistant with the team, regularly gives advice to Pache.

Pache’s strong defense already has earned comparisons with Jones.

”We stay in constant communication,” Pache said through a translator on Wednesday. ”He congratulated me yesterday. … I honestly just feel very grateful to be compared to a legendary player like Andruw Jones.”

Pache has primarily played center field in the minor leagues, but Snitker said he planned to have the rookie play in the expansive left field at Truist Park ”and let him run around.” Ender Inciarte was in the lineup in center field.

The Braves and Nationals split the first two games of the series.

The NL East rivals are scheduled to play each other 10 times in this pandemic-shortened season, including a four-game series at Washington from Sept. 10-13.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: LHP Sean Doolittle (right knee inflammation) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session and could face hitters on Friday. ”He felt OK,” manager Dave Martinez said. … 1B Howie Kendrick (hamstring) missed his fifth straight start. Martinez said Kendrick has improved but has been protected from even pinch-hitting duty in an attempt to avoid aggravating the injury. Martinez said he hopes Kendrick can play on Friday night.

Braves: There was no update on Markakis, who already has had one negative test for the coronavirus.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington is off Thursday and opens an eight-game homestand on Friday night when LHP Patrick Corbin (2-1, 3.91) faces Miami.

Braves: Following a day off Thursday, LHP Max Fried (3-0, 1.24) will try for his fourth straight win when Atlanta opens a series against Philadelphia on Friday night. Fried threw five scoreless innings in an 8-0 win over the Phillies on Aug. 9. LHP Robbie Erlin and RHP Josh Tomlin will follow Fried in the rotation. Tomlin replaced RHP Touki Toussaint.

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