Braves down to 3-man bench Wednesday after trade

SAN DIEGO – The Braves were down to a three-man bench for Wednesday’s series finale against the Padres, after trading veteran infielder Kelly Johnson to the Mets and not having enough time to get another player to San Diego in time for a 12:40 p.m. (Pacific Time) game.

Not a big problem, as far as interim manager Brian Snitker was concerned. He said he could remember having 23- or 24-man rosters more than a decade ago when he managed in Double-A.

National League teams typically carry five bench players and a 12-man pitching staff, but the Braves are among teams that have recently carried an extra pitcher and a four-man bench. After the Johnson trade was finalized early Wednesday, they were down to three bench players Wednesday – outfielder Mallex Smith, infielder Brandon Snyder and catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

The Braves will add a position player before Friday’s series opener against the Cubs, and are expected to bring shortstop Erick Aybar off the 15-day disabled list Sunday, the first day he’s eligible to return. While team officials wouldn’t discuss options for Friday’s callup, it’s possible the Braves could bring back infielder Jace Peterson from Triple-A Gwinnett.

When Aybar comes off the DL, the Braves could consider sending down infielder Daniel Castro, a strong defensive player batting just .184 with a .225 on-base percentage and .193 slugging percentage in 114 at-bats before Wednesday.

As for going with a short bench, it helped that Snyder has a catching background and continues to catch bullpen sessions to stay sharp behind the plate, in case he’s needed as a third catcher. That gives Snitker the flexibility to pinch-hit with his backup catcher earlier than he otherwise might.