Gattis' debut doesn't alter Fredi's catching plan
ATLANTA -- On Thursday, one day after homering in his Major League debut, Evan Gattis was back on the bench. But manager Fredi Gonzalez has continued to say that Gattis could play every bit as much as the veteran Gerald Laird while Brian McCann continues to recover from surgery on his right shoulder.
Laird was behind the plate on Thursday night, when Kris Medlen started the series finale against the Phillies. He will also be in the lineup on Saturday, when rookie right-hander Julio Teheran makes the fifth start of his career, against the Cubs.
"I like that," Gonzalez said of matching Laird with Teheran. "They had some success in Spring Training. You've got a veteran and a rookie. I like that matchup a lot."
Gonzalez will not have any other specific arrangements with his catchers. He is confident that Gattis is quite capable of handling Tim Hudson and the other members of the rotation.
With Laird in the lineup, the Braves lose the power potential Gattis showed when he went deep through the stiff wind that was blowing during his fourth-inning matchup with Roy Halladay.
Gattis became the seventh player in Atlanta history to hit a home run in his Major League debut, following Bob Horner (1978), Jermaine Dye (1996), Marty Malloy (1998), Jeff Francoeur (2005), Jordan Schafer (2009) and Jason Heyward (2010).
Gattis' pinch-hitting opportunities will be limited by the fact that the Braves are carrying just two catchers and do not have a definite emergency option. But Gonzalez said there might be some instances in which he'd be willing to take the gamble of inserting Gattis in a late-inning situation and going the remainder of the game without a catcher on his bench.
"You can roll the dice in the eighth or ninth inning and see how it plays out," Gonzalez said. "But it's a tough feeling when you have to play the rest of the way with no backup catcher."