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Braves outfielder Jose Constanza was recalled from Gwinnett to help fill the void created by a series of injuries to the starting outfielders Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries Decimate Braves Outfield

Two days before the All Star Break the whole Braves outfield goes down injured.

Braves Outfielders Jason Heyward, Justin Upton both went down with injuries in the last 24 hours Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The injury demon invaded Turner field yesterday when Jason Heyward strained a hamstring sliding into third. He hung around tonight as B.J. Upton suffered a strained right adductor when he jammed his knee in the ground trying to catch a fly ball and Justin Upton strained his left calf muscle running to first.  As Allan noted in his post yesterday,  Jordan Schafer was diagnosed with a stress fracture that will keep him out for a month.  With Reed Johnson and Joey Terdoslavich the only outfielders left on the bench, Tyler Pastornicky was pressed into service in center field. Not only does that configuration weaken our defense, is yanks Justin Upton out just as he was heating up again. None of those players is likely to play before the All Star Game and BJ’s injury could result in a DL stint for him.  The situation will require roster moves tonight and possible changes to the 40 man roster as well.

Doing The Roster Shuffle

The first thought that comes to mind is that the Braves could cut short the rehab of Evan Gattis and bring him back to Atlanta. The only other outfielder left on the 40 man roster is Jose Constanza. Last year’s AAA batting champ is not having a good year in 2013. His slash of .260/.319/.303/.622 is the first time since 2009 he’s hit below .300 in AAA and his worst since his A ball days back in 2005. Other options at Gwinnett include their regular center fielder Todd Cunningham (.287/.366/.361), Stefan Gartrell (.271/.345/.458) and Brandon Boggs.  Boggs is the only one with major league experience having spent parts of  four years with Texas and Milwaukee. The 30-year-old  Boggs has a .265/.375/.422 career slash at AAA and has limited experience in center field while Gartrell is a corner outfielder but has more power than the other two. All of these internal moves are complicated by the fact the Gwinnett is playing at Raleigh tonight so getting a player back to Atlanta for tomorrow’s day game against the Reds would be a challenge. Any move other than Gattis or Constanza would require replacing someone on the 40 man roster but that could easily be accomplished by moving Eric O’Flaherty or Cristhian Martinez to the 60 day DL.  Whether they would want to do that with Cunningham – just 24  – is debatable as it would start his option clock. In case you’re wondering about Mississippi, a move for Mycal Jones, Jose Martinez or Kyle Russell is unlikely because of the option clock and because only Martinez is hitting at all. The same is probably not a consideration for the 29 year old Gartrell or Boggs.

The only man known to be available on the waiver wire is Cole Gillespie who was DFA  by the Giants last week when they signed Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal. Trades or waiver claims are possible but not likely with the All Star break looming and travel time a factor.

UPDATE

Braves have called up Jose Constanza from Gwinnett.

Constanza was the obvious move. He was already in the 40 man roster and has played well for the Braves in the past. There are just two games to cover and it gives them time to determine how serious the injuries and decide how to proceed from there.

That’s a Wrap

The Braves won’t announce anything until tomorrow morning when they figure out what they can actually do. They will however have to do something as the bench is very short.  Skipper Fredi Gonzalez said in his post game interview that they were considering options and would get someone up for tomorrow.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Injuries

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