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Pastornicky makes first start of season

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Two years ago, Tyler Pastornicky was the Braves' Opening Day shortstop. Two weeks into the 2014 season, Pastornicky earned his first start off the bench in Sunday's series finale against the Nationals. He was in at second base and was slotted at eighth in the order.

"I've always got to be ready," Pastornicky said.

Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Two years ago, Tyler Pastornicky was the Braves' Opening Day shortstop. Two weeks into the 2014 season, Pastornicky earned his first start off the bench in Sunday's series finale against the Nationals. He was in at second base and was slotted at eighth in the order.

"I've always got to be ready," Pastornicky said.

Full Game Coverage

Pastronicky, 24, entered Sunday's game with just one plate appearance -- a pinch-hit groundout in Friday night's 7-6 win against Washington -- and one other outing as a pinch-runner against the Nationals in a 2-1 loss on April 6.

Like Ramiro Pena, who filled in for Andrelton Simmons (jammed right wrist) for two games at shortstop during the current homestand, Pastornicky hopes to make the most of his increased action. Specifically, he wants to work on his timing at the plate. But most of all, Pastornicky wants to strengthen his left knee after tearing his ACL in an outfield collision with Braves right fielder Jason Heyward on Aug. 14, 2013.

Pastornicky sustained the injury while filling in at second base for Dan Uggla, who was scheduled to miss two weeks last August after undergoing LASIK surgery to fix his blurred vision. However, Pastornicky was injured two days into the stretch.

"Trying to keep the swelling down after activity," said Pastornicky of the biggest challenge with his knee. "But it's been really good. Ever since Spring Training, I've been able to do pretty much everything on it and not have to worry about how it feels the next day, so that's been awesome."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Atlanta Braves, Tyler Pastornicky