B.J. Upton hits a sacrifice fly to score Joey Terdoslavich for a 5-4 lead over the Marlins during the 7th inning of their MLB baseball game on Sunday, August 11, 2013, in Atlanta. The Braves scored four runs in the inning.
With an eye toward batting B.J. Upton leadoff in two games against left-handers this weekend in Philadelphia, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez put Upton atop his lineup Tuesday night against the Mets.
Gonzalez said he had planned to give Jordan Schafer the day off Tuesday after his lower back tightened up as he ran out a single in Monday’s game. By Tuesday Schafer said his back was fine. But this way Gonzalez could get Upton in a frame of mind to hit lead off against both Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Schafer, who has been batting leadoff again in Jason Heyward’s absence, is hitting .120 (3-for-25) against left-handers this season and .298 (50-for-168) against right-handers.
“Looking for a guy to lead off against a lefty and so why not use B.J. today – he’s swinging the bat well,” Gonzalez said.
B.J. Upton went 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot Friday night to raise his batting average to .200 for the first time this season. Upton is 11-for-25 (.440) with a home run in seven games this homestand. Upton was batting leadoff for the 15th time this season, but the first 12 came in April before the reality of his miserable start as a Brave had really taken shape.
“It’s been tough, but I haven’t given up,” Upton said. “Some guys might have said ‘enough.’ That’s not in me.”
Minor league trade
The Braves traded Triple-A Gwinnett catcher Matt Pagnozzi to the Astros for cash considerations, the Astros announced Tuesday. Pagnozzi was hitting .210 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 90 games. The Braves signed him last December as insurance at backup catcher with Brian McCann coming off shoulder surgery.
Atlanta Braves executives will return to work from their Thanksgiving travels Monday, still thankful for $300 million in public funding for a new stadium but aware that last week’s vote by the Cobb County Commission signaled the start of an unforgiving timetable to get the ballpark built by 2017.