"I haven't officially announced it, but he has led off every time he's been in the lineup, and he has done nothing not to get (the assignment)," manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Inciarte had both of the Braves' hits in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies that was rained out in the fourth inning.
"I like him up there. He's done it before," Gonzalez said. "He's got some speed and I like (Erick) Aybar in the two hole, being a switch hitter."
"They told me they wanted to see how I did in the leadoff spot and they expected me to be the leadoff hitter, but it was not given," Inciarte said. "I knew I had to prove I could lead off and hopefully stay consistent about it."
He has walked only once this spring.
"But I can't go up to hit thinking I'm going to walk," he said. "I'll walk whenever I have to walk, but if I get a good pitch to hit, I'm going to swing at it."
Inciarte singled off Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan in the first, then dropped down a perfect bunt single with a man on base in the third.
Phillies: Morgan, competing with Vincent Velasquez for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation, gave up the two singles to Inciarte, walked one and struck out two in three innings.
HERNANDEZ WILL LEAD OFF FOR PHILLIES
The Phillies, too, have found a leadoff hitter in second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who led off in 35 of the 93 games he started last season. "He's probably the best one we've got right now," said manager Pete Mackanin. "If he's swinging during the season like he is now, he'd be a good choice." Hernandez is batting .354 this spring and has walked six times.
Phillies: OF Odubel Herrera (sore left middle finger) was available as a pinch hitter Thursday night and will probably be in the lineup Friday, Mackanin said. Herrera last played on March 12.
Jack Mayfield's double helps Angels jump in front
Jack Mayfield hits a deep double to left field to plate two runs and give the Angels a 3-1 lead over the Astros in the sixth inning.
AL East wild-card frenzy: Who will get in and who will miss out as Yankees and Red Sox meet?
With a huge weekend series at Fenway sure to shake things up, we debate which teams are headed to October in the battle between Boston, New York and Toronto.
Eovaldi expected to start as Red Sox host the Yankees
New York Yankees (86-67, third in the AL East) vs. Boston Red Sox (88-65, second in the AL East)
Braves to face Padres on the road
Atlanta Braves (80-71, first in the NL East) vs. San Diego Padres (77-75, third in the NL West)
Wells expected to start as Baltimore hosts Texas
Texas Rangers (55-98, fifth in the AL West) vs. Baltimore Orioles (49-104, fifth in the AL East)
Gilbert, Mariners to face Suarez, Angels
Seattle Mariners (84-69, second in the AL West) vs. Los Angeles Angels (73-80, fourth in the AL West)