Pastornicky gets start at second, could see more

Credit: Byline Withheld

Credit: Byline Withheld

Tyler Pastornicky got only his third start of the season at second base Saturday night, as the Braves continue to turn to other options with struggling Dan Uggla on the bench.

Pastornicky drew his third tough matchup as well, this time with Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija on the mound. His previous start came against Jose Fernandez in Miami on April 29. His first was against Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez.

“It’s tough,” Pastornicky said of the assignment, not that he minded. “He’s still got to throw it over the plate. Just try to go up there and throw some quality at-bats. … Whatever our situation calls for, try to go up there and help the team win any way possible.”

That’s what manager Fredi Gonzalez is counting on. He also is hoping Pastornicky can draw on a little bit of success he’s had against Samardzija, going 2-for-3 against him.

“I’m just looking for him to put the ball in play,” Gonzalez said. “And give him some opportunities to play a little bit.”

Ramiro Pena had started five of the previous seven games at second base over Uggla, who is hitting .184 through 28 games. Pena went 3-for-17 (.176) over those five starts, with a double, a home run and one RBI. He went 0-for-7 the past two games.

“We know what Pena can do,” Gonzalez said. “I think Ramiro is a great guy, that super utility guy and you pick and choose your spots with him and he’s successful.”