Jay Hey could be back as early as the Arizona series next week, which leaves the Braves with a most unanticipated, yet welcome, problem.
The bench, which appeared to be a weakness, has been among the best in baseball. But someone’s got to go.
*It can’t be Ramiro Pena, who’s exceeded expectations and is the only middle infield reserve on the 25-man roster.
*It won’t be Evan Gattis. You don’t send down a player with a .524 slugging percentage, particularly one who’s been far better defensively than advertised (showing a mean throwing arm in LF).
*It shouldn’t be Jordan Schafer, who’s been everything we thought he’d be in 2009, providing the Braves with generally solid defense and base-running and, so far, unexpected pop. Plus, he’s out of options and would never clear waivers.
(Shows how much we know: from last December’s post including Schafer in our countdown of the 20 worst A-Braves)
When FW re-signed him earlier this winter, I couldn’t help but think of Craig Robinson, Larvell Blanks and Adrian Devine. Wasn’t once enough?
*It could be Gerald Laird, but he’s signed to a two-year deal and if you lose him you lose the option of using Gattis and McCann as pinch hitters.
*That leaves Reed Johnson, who has a team option for next year and an affordable contract this year. He should be easy enough to trade. It’s no reflection on Reed, but, considering the options, what would you do?