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Posted: 8:37 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013

Elliot Johnson joins Braves, Gosselin sent to Triple-A

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Braves try to win series vs. Nats
The Braves' Phil Gosselin beats out the throw to Nationals player Adam Laroche to reach first on a bunt during the first inning of their MLB game at Turner Field on Sunday in Atlanta.

By David O'Brien

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ST. LOUIS — Elliot Johnson joined the Braves’ 25-man roster Thursday and was excited about hooking up with a first-place team after being claimed off waivers from the Royals.

“The body of work (the Braves) have put forth this year is really impressive,” said Johnson, who hit just .179 with a .218 on-base percentage in 162 at-bats for Kansas City, but had 14 stolen bases without getting caught. “The season’s not over by any stretch, but they’ve obviously got a good jump-start to getting into the first series and being the 1-seed, if you will, and not having to play the play-in game.”

In his first plate appearance for the Braves, he singled with two out in the second inning Thursday, snapping an 0-for-31 skid.

Johnson, 29, provides more big-league experience for the bench after the Braves lost infielder Tyler Pastornicky to knee surgery last week. Johnson, a switch-hitter, has a .212 average and .267 OBP in 279 games in parts of four seasons with Tampa Bay and Kansas City, including 162 games at shortstop, 80 at second base, 10 apiece at third base and the outfield, and two at first base.

Johnson was originally a shortstop in the Rays’ minor league system, but moved to second base because the Rays had another shortstop prospect with a bigger bat: B.J.Upton.

“They decided they wanted B.J. Upton to play shortstop, so they sent me to second base, because of B.J.,” Johnson said of his former and once-again teammate. “And obviously his bat pushed him up (to the majors) a lot quicker than mine, so I started playing a little bit more shortstop after that. So those are my two favorite spots.

“But (the Braves) have, as you know, probably the best shortstop in the world playing there (Andrelton Simmons). If they need to give him a breather down the stretch, I’m more than happy to fill in if they need me.”

Rookie infielder Phil Gosselin was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett after going 2-for-6 with a walk and two runs in four games in his first major league callup.

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