“He’s like all of these guys; he’s coming off the All-Star break, too,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “So he needs time to move around.”
Pederson was acquired from the Cubs around 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. But by the time he was able to get everything in order and arrive in Atlanta, he would have had to rush to prepare for the game. He was officially activated approximately two hours before Friday’s scheduled first pitch.
Pederson pinch-hit in the 10th inning of Friday's 7-6 loss to the Rays, grounding out to shortstop for the final out.
“It’s a really good fit for us,” Snitker said. “He’s an experienced guy who has had success.”
Pederson has competed in three of the past four World Series, and he is widely recognized as a great clubhouse presence. So the Braves are certainly happy he was available to compensate for at least a portion of the void created Saturday, when Ronald Acuña Jr. was lost for the season with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.
Along with serving as Atlanta’s new right fielder, Pederson will also replace Acuña in the leadoff spot
Pederson hit .230 with 11 home runs and a .718 OPS in 287 plate appearances for the Cubs this year.
In 221 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, he hit .218 with a .727 OPS, 11 home runs and a 25.8 percent strikeout rate. In 66 plate appearances against lefties, he hit .271 with a .687 OPS, no home runs and the same strikeout rate.
Pederson has produced an .821 OPS and tallied 78 of his 141 career homers while batting in the leadoff spot.
“Right now, [in the leadoff spot] is where I kind of see him,” Snitker said. “It’s kind of a 'get our better hitters up there more often' kind of thing. He’s done it, and he’s had success there. We’ll probably leave him there for a while.”
Anderson shut down
Acuña wasn’t the only Braves player injured during last weekend’s series against the Marlins. Ian Anderson battled right shoulder discomfort while lasting just 2 1/3 innings on Sunday.
Snitker said an MRI showed no structural damage. But he also revealed the right-hander will not be cleared to resume throwing for at least a week. That could be good news if the inflammation subsides quickly. But if the inflammation lingers, the Braves might be without Anderson through at least early August.
Touki Toussaint was activated from the 60-day injured list and recalled to replace Anderson, who was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Tuesday.
Kyle Muller started for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday. So he seems to be the most likely candidate to start Monday night’s series opener against the Padres. But Snitker wasn’t ready to commit to that plan yet.
Kyle Wright would be on schedule if the Braves choose to call him up to face the Padres on Tuesday. But Wright allowed six runs in just three innings against Nashville on Thursday and now has a 4.31 ERA for Gwinnett.
Toussaint could be used as Tuesday’s starter if he isn’t needed over the next couple of days. He has been on the injured list since being diagnosed with a right shoulder strain on March 22.