All the work Jordan Schafer put in over Spring Training has paid off, as he is now in position to make the 25-man roster after the Atlanta Braves optioned Jose Constanza and Tyler Pastornicky to the minors.
Schafer hasn't exactly been lights out this spring with just a .237 average, but his speed can be utilized as a pinch-runner, as evidenced by his four stolen bases in Grapefruit League play. Top that off with the fact that he's out of options and Constanza couldn't get to camp until he was a month late because of visa problems, and he almost had a perfect storm set up to make the team.
Pastornicky had a torrid spring with a .375 average, four doubles and a homer. He still sucks at defense, but he'll fill in at shortstop at Triple-A Gwinnett while Paul Janish recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. After that, he'll start at second base.
"[Pastornicky] is not going down and being forgotten," manager Fredi Gonzalez said told braves.com. "We've got a plan for him. I told Tyler to trust that this organization is going to do the right thing for him. This guy is a valuable piece for us. He's had an unbelievable Spring Training for us. This guy is a big piece for us. What we start with in April may be different in May or June."
Braves.com also makes a solid point about Pastornicky even starting in Atlanta.
"As the Braves prepare to enter this season, one of their top concerns centers around Dan Uggla, who is coming off the worst season of his career. If Uggla struggles through the first couple months of this season, Atlanta would at least have to think about benching him in favor of Ramiro Pena or Pastornicky."
The moves leave Evan Gattis and Matt Pagnozzi to compete for the backup catching job until Brian McCann returns in about a month.
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