Braves infielder Ramiro Pena considered trying to play with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder rather than have season-ending surgery, but in the end determined it was best not to put off the inevitable.
The versatile veteran will have surgery Thursday on his right (throwing) shoulder, a procedure to be performed by Dr. James Andrews at his Florida clinic. Pena got opinions from at least two doctors before deciding Wednesday to have surgery.
The fact that he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract for next season may have played into the decision, since putting off the surgery until later could make it difficult for him to land a job in 2014.
Pena was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week, after rest didn’t relieve soreness he began to feel after making a pair of diving stops in a game two weeks ago. The Braves brought up Paul Janish from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill his spot, and it’s uncertain if they will look to replace Pena now that they know he’s out for the season.
Janish is as strong or stronger defensively as Pena, but doesn’t provide nearly as much offense as the Braves have gotten this season from the former Yankees infielder.
Pena is having a career-best season, batting .278 in 97 at-bats and already with career-highs in extra-base hits (nine) and home runs (three).
“Every team is going to have injuries,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The team that can survive those injuries is going to be there at the end. It’s an injury that (eliminates) some versatility, especially in a National League game, off the bench and pinch-hitting. But we have plenty of candidates that you feel comfortable could do that job.”
It’ll be the second surgery he’s had on his throwing shoulder, which was first repaired seven years ago when he was a minor leaguer.
Heyward back in lineup: It took nearly half of the season, but the Braves’ Jason Heyward has started to feel right again at the plate on a more consistent basis.
So after driving in three runs with a homer and a double in Tuesday’s 4-3 win against Kansas City, the big fella didn’t want to sit Wednesday — especially not with another off day on the schedule Thursday — unless his right elbow stiffened after being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning Tuesday.
Ice and treatment did the trick, and Heyward was back in the lineup for the finale with the Royals. “Good to go,” he said.
Heyward was batting .216 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 53 games before Wednesday, but in his past 22 games, he hit .307 with five doubles, four homers, eight RBIs, .365 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Futures game picks: Triple-A Gwinnett outfielder Joey Terdoslavich was selected to play in the All-Star Futures game next month in New York, along with Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, a repeat selection.
Terdoslavich, 24, hit .323 with 44 extra-base hits (18 homers), 57 RBIs and a .952 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 78 games before Wednesday, after opening eyes during his second major league spring training.
“He can swing it,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The year before when he went to spring training, everybody was (unimpressed). This spring training, he wore it out. And he carried it over to the season.”
Terdoslavich hit only .180 with a .515 OPS in 53 games at Gwinnett in 2012, after skipping Double-A and being moved to third base. He was demoted in June to Double-A Mississippi, moved back to first base and hit .315 with an .852 OPS the rest of the season.
The Braves had him play outfield this spring, and Terdoslavich has played mostly right field at Gwinnett.
Bethancourt, 21, has hit .263 with four homers in his second Double-A season, after struggling in an injury-plagued 2011 season. The cannon-armed Panamanian will play for the World team in the Futures game, while Terdoslavich is a first baseman on the U.S. roster.