Bethancourt gets first major league at-bat

Christian Bethancourt waited three weeks to get his first major league at-bat, and it was over in three swings on three curveballs from Phillies reliever Tyler Cloyd. But Bethancourt walked away happy after striking out in the eighth inning of Sunday’s win over the Phillies in the regular season finale.

“I was kind of nervous when they told me to get ready; I was going to hit in my first major league appearance,” Bethancourt said. “I was just looking for fastballs. I haven’t seen a pitcher in a while, but I did have fun. I enjoyed it. And I’m happy I finally got my at-bat. It just broke the ice. It felt really good to be out there. It was pretty fun.”

Bethancourt is the Braves’ top catching prospect and is expected to get a chance to make the Braves roster next spring training if Brian McCann departs in free agency as many believe he will do.

The 42,194 fans at Turner Field seemed to know and appreciate Bethancourt’s potential, giving him a nice ovation both as he was introduced and then walked back to the dugout.

“It was great,” Bethancourt said. “It was a great feeling, one of the best feelings I ever have.”

Roster watch

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez isn’t expected to make final playoff roster decisions until after meeting with his coaches and club officials on Tuesday. The Braves aren’t expected to announce it until Tuesday or Wednesday, when their second workout is open to the media. The Braves want reliever Jordan Walden to throw once more in instructional league before they make a final decision on the bullpen. Teams don’t have to submit their rosters until the first day of the division series on Thursday.

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