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Ender Inciarte injury: Braves outfielder could return next week

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The Atlanta Braves could have Ender Inciarte back in the lineup next week.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves are getting closer to getting a key player back in the lineup. Ender Inciarte could be activated from the disabled list next week according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Inciarte could come off the disabled list as soon as the three-game series against the Mets that starts Monday in New York, though a return during the homestand that starts Friday (May 6) seems more likely.

Inciarte injured the hamstring in the third game of the season and has been on the disabled list ever since. He has been playing games at extended spring training and will go on a short rehab assignment before being activated.

Inciarte's return will likely result in the demotion of Mallex Smith back to Gwinnett. Smith has hit just .188 in 58 plate appearances during his cup of coffee in Atlanta. Inciarte was 2 for 8 with a pair of walks before he was injured.