Pastornicky to undergo ACL surgery, out for season
Braves call up infielder Gosselin from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill roster spot
ATLANTA -- Tyler Pastornicky's opportunity to fill in as Atlanta's starting second baseman proved to be short-lived. Early Friday afternoon, the Braves announced that Pastornicky will undergo season-ending left knee surgery to repair the damage he sustained during a collision with Jason Heyward on Wednesday night.
An MRI performed on Thursday showed that Pastornicky tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. A timetable for recovery will be better understood after Dr. Marvin Royster performs the surgery on Monday. But in most instances, this procedure requires at least six months of rehab, which would put Pastornicky in position to be ready at the start of next year's Spring Training.
"It's tough," a sullen Pastornicky said. "It's not easy. It's definitely frustrating. But I'll stick to the grindstone, have surgery, keep rehabbing and then come back and get them next year."
The Braves filled Pastornicky's roster spot by purchasing infielder Philip Gosselin's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett. Gosselin will provide depth while Paul Janish serves as the everyday second baseman in the absence of both Pastornicky and Dan Uggla, who underwent LASIK surgery to fix his blurred vision on Friday.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez expects Uggla will be ready to return to the lineup when he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Aug. 28. In the meantime, the Braves will continue to scour the waiver wire in an attempt to find a player who could provide more offensive potential than the defensively-sound Janish.
While the Mariners' Brendan Ryan has been mentioned as a possibility, he essentially provides what the Braves already have in Janish. Another option could be Ryan Roberts, who was designated for assignment by the Rays on Thursday.
When the Braves promoted Pastornicky late Tuesday afternoon, the expectation was that he would spend two weeks filling Uggla's void in the starting lineup. But that plan was nixed when the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Pastornicky collided with the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Heyward in the third inning of Wednesday night's win over the Phillies.
"That's just the way it goes," Gonzalez said. "But [Pastornicky] has got to look at it like he'll get another opportunity. Now the No. 1 goal is for him to get healthy."
Pastornicky sustained his injury while ranging back to catch a Jimmy Rollins popup. As he stopped to catch the ball along the right-field foul line, Pastornicky was clipped by a hard-charging Heyward.
While the collision was minor, it was significant enough for Pastornicky's left leg to lock in the wet outfield grass long enough for him to sustain a full tear of the ACL.
Heyward, who clearly called for the ball, offered his apology to Pastornicky when he learned the results of the MRI.
"Collisions happen," Pastornicky said. "It's part of the game. It was one of those balls that was in no-man's land. It's not clear cut, oh that's the outfielder's ball or the first baseman's or the second baseman's ball. It was kind of in the middle of nowhere. I was running to get it, and he was running to get it and we met at the same time."
The sequence of this week's events provided an unexpected opportunity for Gosselin, who was not even expecting to get a call to the big leagues when rosters are expanded in September. The versatile 24-year-old infielder has batted .277 with a .669 OPS in the 47 games he has played since being promoted from Double-A Mississippi to Gwinnett earlier this season.
"It's starting to sink in now," Gosselin said. "It didn't really sink in at first. It's a great feeling. But it's almost surreal. You always work to get up. When I finally got that call, it was pretty exciting."
Gonzalez said he and general manager Frank Wren were looking to fill Pastornicky's roster spot with a player who could pinch-hit for Janish in late-inning situations and provide a reliable glove if there was a need to remain in the game to play defense.
Some of the other internal options included Gwinnett's Sean Kazmar and Tommy La Stella, who has opened plenty of eyes while hitting .342 with a .889 OPS in 65 games with Double-A Mississippi. But with the possibility that any of these players could simply prove to be a short-term fix, the decision was made to go with Gosselin.
"I never really expected it," Gosselin said. "I wasn't in big league camp. I was just trying to have a good year down there and put myself in a good spot. It ended up better than I could have hoped for."