Riley would be one of Atlanta's primary options at designated hitter if the universal DH is part of a shortened MLB season, Gabriel Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Having the DH available would solve the team's dilemma at third base, where Riley and Johan Camargo seemed to be in a dead heat for the starting job when spring training was suspended. As Camargo is the superior defender, Atlanta would be able to get both bats into the lineup with Riley at DH. The other likely DH scenario for the club would see Marcell Ozuna handle the position on occasion to take advantage of the club's outfield depth -- depth which could include top prospects Cristian Pache and Drew Waters as part of a taxi squad, if they have no minor-league season to participate in.
Riley would likely have been on Atlanta's Opening Day roster had the regular season begun as scheduled, even if he wasn't the starting third baseman, Gabriel Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The club headed into the spring with Riley battling Johan Camargo for the starting job at the hot corner, and the loser was expected to head down to Triple-A Gwinnett to get consistent playing time. During an interview Friday, however, GM Alex Anthopoulos suggested that both had been playing so well in camp that the battle could have continued into the regular season. "Camargo, Riley were playing unbelievably well," Anthopoulos told Fox Sports broadcaster Chip Carey. "We hadn't made a decision yet of who we were going to carry. We had started to talk about - the fact that the minor-league season was scheduled to start on April 9 and we were starting March 26 - we started to talk about carrying both. There's no reason to leave them down in Florida. They'd both been playing well enough to make the team." Once games finally do resume, the duo will pick the competition back up, but if Riley can reduce his strikeouts he remains the favorite in the long run to seize the job.
Riley went 1-for-2 with a solo home run and a walk in Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox. He crushed an Eduardo Rodriguez offering over the left-field wall in the fourth inning for his second homer of the spring. Riley is making a strong case for a roster spot so far, slashing .333/.364/.667 through 22 plate appearances with a reasonable 1:4 BB:K, but the 22-year-old will need to convince the coaching staff he's a better option at third base than Johan Camargo if he wants to avoid being sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett to begin the season.
Riley will most likely be sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett if he doesn't win the starting third base job this spring, Gabriel Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. While Riley and Johan Camargo, his competition for the starting spot, each have experience playing other positions, the organization would rather see both get consistent playing time rather than hurting their development in a bench role. "I don't know that realistically, can you get both guys (ample playing time)? No, I don't know that you can do (them) justice. If you're not playing every day, you're not going to do justice with things. You talk about it, it sounds good, but in reality, it's not that easy to do," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said Sunday. Camargo is currently considered the favorite to win the big-league job.
Riley is the underdog in the third base competition with Johan Camargo, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. Camargo hit a home run off Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia in Friday's game, while Riley is 2-for-10 with just one strikeout. Riley has a much higher offensive ceiling, so the Braves wouldn't be opposed to him winning the job with a great spring training performance, but it sounds like it is Camargo's job to lose, at least in Bowman's estimation.