With both Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson raking during Spring Training, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has decided what most people expected – that the pair will start the 2013 season as a platoon at third base.
"I think both of those guys are playing such great baseball," Gonzalez said on braves.com. "Right now, I think it would be unfair to choose one as a starter."
Francisco came to Atlanta last season from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitching prospect J.J. Hoover. He hit .234 with nine homers while spelling Chipper Jones in 2012. He has hit .352 with five home runs this spring.
The main concern with Francisco is his ability, or lack thereof, to hit offspeed pitches, which will certainly become more prevalent in the regular season. He will also be tested in the realm of hitting left-handed pitching.
Johnson was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the Justin Upton deal and hit .281 with 15 homers in 136 games last year. Johnson has raked to the tune of a .368 average with three longballs.
Johnson's defense has largely been his biggest detractor, but the right-handed hitter can also play first base and give Freddie Freeman a day off against lefties when needed.
Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chris Johnson, Juan Francisco, MLB