Evan Gattis has the highest slugging percentage (.608) for Atlanta this season but isn’t an every-day starter.
ATLANTA — Braves slugger Evan Gattis, winner of consecutive NL rookie of the month awards, smacked his 13th homer of the season on Wednesday.
A day earlier, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted it was tough to find room for the rookie sensation in the lineup every day.
“It’s not easy getting (Gattis) in there,” Gonzalez said.
Gattis sat out of the lineup for the second straight day Tuesday, but Gonzalez said he would start the final game of the home stand today against the Pirates.
Gattis is second on the team with 13 home runs and 33 RBI while ranking seventh in at-bats (148). Gattis has played catcher, first base and left field, but Gonzalez said it’s still tough to find room in the lineup for him.
Catcher Brian McCann and first baseman Freddie Freeman have been Atlanta’s most consistent hitters. Justin Upton is a mainstay in left field. Gonzalez said outfielders B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward are showing signs of coming out of hitting slumps, so he wants to keep getting them at-bats.
Beachy update: Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy thought his third minor-league rehabilitation start wasn’t as good as his second but said that’s been the “standard” pattern during his comeback from Tommy John surgery.
“When I do something new and it feels really good, then I kind of take a small step back and it takes a little time to get back to that point and then I move forward,” he said. “It’s settling in, I guess.”
Beachy pitched five innings for Double-A Mississippi Tuesday and allowed six hits and three earned runs with a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches with 55 strikes.
“I was a little tight,” Beachy said. “I loosened up, and the last couple innings felt pretty good but I really struggled to throw effective curve balls and sliders early on.”
Beachy is scheduled to start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday and then make a final rehab start with Double-A Mississippi next week before re-joining the Braves. Gonzalez said the Braves are targeting the June 18 doubleheader against the Mets for Beachy’s return.