ATLANTA -- Throughout his Minor League career, Braves outfielder Mallex Smith showed he has the potential to become one of the game's top stolen base threats. But now that he has been introduced to replay reviews at the Major League level, Smith has quickly learned he'll better satisfy this potential
ATLANTA -- Throughout his Minor League career, Braves outfielder Mallex Smith showed he has the potential to become one of the game's top stolen base threats. But now that he has been introduced to replay reviews at the Major League level, Smith has quickly learned he'll better satisfy this potential once he begins to harness some of his slides.
During Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to the Brewers, Smith had a stolen base taken away when a replay review showed that he was tagged when his right foot came off the bag after he had reached second base during the seventh inning. He experienced something similar after it appeared he had stolen third base in a game on April 28 at Fenway Park.
"I've got to work on staying on the bag," Smith said. "With everything under the microscope like it is, I've got to make the adjustment."
As Smith recorded 226 stolen bases in 285 attempts over 393 games in the Minors, he never had to deal with the potential of replay review showing he momentarily lost contact with a base after being initially ruled safe. But now that he has seen two stolen bases erased by reviews at the big league level, the rookie center fielder acknowledges that he will need to make adjustments in order to ensure he is under control while sliding into bases in the future.
"I don't really consider me sliding as something you can change," Smith said. "It's just something you've got to make a conscious effort to adjust to."
Smith entered Wednesday's action having been successful on just half of his 12 stolen base attempts. His percentage should improve as he cleans some of his baserunning mechanics, gets better jumps and simply begins to become more accustomed to pitcher's moves.
Having spent both of the past two seasons as Triple-A Gwinnett's manager, Braves interim skipper Brian Snitker said he had not thought about the need to adjust slides until he saw Smith fall victim to another review on Tuesday.
"That's the first time I had even kind of thought about it, after [Smith] was so far safe," Snitker said. "But [infielders] have been taught and they are instructed to hang a tag and finish the plays. That's all of the sudden a nuance that will have to be brought to the forefront and you have to be aware of that."
• The Braves claimed left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez off waivers from the Mets and assigned him to Gwinnett. Alvarez has surrendered three home runs and seven earned runs over the five innings he's compiled in the Majors. The 27-year-old southpaw posted a 9.98 ERA over 17 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas this year.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.