The Braves went with the traditional September essentials — a little speed, bullpen help, the hottest bat available and a third catcher — when they made their minor league call-ups on Monday, the first day major league rosters could be expanded.
Arriving from Triple-A Gwinnett were outfielder Jose Constanza, relievers Juan Jaime and Chasen Shreve, and outfielder Joey Terdoslavich. Catcher Christian Bethancourt was also called up but will join the team Tuesday after playing in Gwinnett’s final game Monday.
All five have major league experience and if there is any surprise among the choices, it is probably Terdoslavich and not because he was called on. It is perhaps because he hadn’t been called earlier. With the parent club struggling to score, Terdoslavich turned into the International League’s hottest hitter late in the season.
“I struggled a little bit this year,” he said. “Started swinging the bat better in the second half of the season. It’s been a grind, but I learned a lot. Any time you go through something like that, you learn good things and learn to work through. So I’m just excited to be back here.”
Terdoslavich earned back-to-back IL batter of the week awards last month and homered in a team-record five straight games Aug. 17-21. Though he hit just .256 for the season, he lead the G-Braves in homers (15), RBIs (61) and total bases (195) while finishing second with 62 doubles and third with 130 hits.
“I was just trying to do a little too much for a few weeks,” he said of his slow start. “It caused some stuff going on in my swing. I just got back to the basics and it started working out the last month-and-a-half.”
Terdoslavich, and outfielder-first baseman selected in the 10th round of the 2010 draft, appeared to make big strides last year, when he was Gwinnett’s player of the year and spent 55 games on the Atlanta roster (.215 with four doubles). But his chances for making the team in spring training vanished with the acquisition of Ryan Doumit and the fact that Jordan Schafer was out of options, forcing the club to keep him. Terdoslavich’s .158 Grapefruit League average didn’t help.
Now cast in a pinch-hitters role after playing every day all season, Terdoslavich takes on the toughest job in baseball. But he said time spent withe Braves last year watching pinch-hitter Reed Johnson perform yielded lessons he has retained.
“I learned a lot about it from Reed last year,” said Terdoslavich, who hit .135 coming off the bench in Atlanta. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but I have some knowledge of how to go about it, how to get ready for an at-bat. Try to do the best that I can.”
Constanza, who has spent time in Atlanta the past three seasons, hit .329 in his last 17 games with Gwinnett. He had 30 steals and scored 65 runs in 111 games.
Jaime, the hard-throwing right-hander with triple-digit fastball capacity, appeared in nine games during his first call-up in June, allowing two runs (one homer) in eight innings while striking out 13.
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