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ANTA -- The Braves' roster for Friday's National League Wild Card playoff against the Cardinals features nine pitchers and 16 position players, including a third catcher. There are three starting pitchers and six relievers on Atlanta's list.
The Braves will be able to change the roster for the NL Division Series if they advance.
David Ross started at catcher and Brian McCann and rookie J.C. Boscan were the backups. Having three catchers gives manager Fredi Gonzalez greater flexibility to use McCann as a pinch-hitter.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was backup third baseman Juan Francisco getting left off the roster. Francisco had established himself as a useful backup to Chipper Jones during the summer, but as Jones pushed harder to play as much as he could in September, Francisco's playing time dropped off. Though Francisco didn't make the roster, Atlanta will have the left-handed bats of Lyle Overbay and Eric Hinske.
Gonzalez said the Braves chose Hinske over Francisco because of his experience. Hinske has played in the postseason four times and won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2007.
"With Hinkse being a little more experienced in that spot, and having McCann on the bench with that left-handed bat kind of gave us that option of carrying Eric instead of Francisco," Gonzalez said.
Also, as Gonzalez previously announced, the Braves had three starting pitchers active Friday. Right-hander Kris Medlen started, but right-hander Tim Hudson and left-hander Mike Minor were on the roster in case Medlen was knocked out early or got injured. A third starter also gives Gonzalez flexibility if the game turns into an extra-innings affair.
Because the Braves are carrying two extra starting pitchers, Gonzalez said they were able to leave long reliever Cristhian Martinez off the roster.
"Martinez, during the course of the year, was our long guy, but I don't think he's pitched more than three innings, four innings the whole year," Gonzalez said. "And Huddy and Minor can give you nine each, if it gets to that point."
The complete roster:
PITCHERS (9): Luis Avilan, Chad Durbin, Cory Gearrin, Hudson, Craig Kimbrel, Medlen, Minor, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters
CATCHERS (3): Boscan, McCann, Ross
INFIELDERS (8): Jeff Baker, Freeman, Hinske, Jones, Overbay, Tyler Pastornicky, Andrelton Simmons, Dan Uggla
OUTFIELDERS (5): Michael Bourn, Jose Constanza, Jason Heyward, Reed Johnson, Martin Prado