ATLANTA — Fredi Gonzalez ran out yet another new starting lineup Monday night in Cincinnati, but this time it was not due to experimentation — not behind the plate anyways.
Catcher Brian McCann returned after missing the first 30 games of the season while rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery, being plugged into the No. 6 hole in his first game back in the majors. The six-time All-Star finished 0-for-4, but drew a walk and said after the game that his debut could not have gone any better.
Surely, he would have liked a hit or two, but his point was made: he feels healthy.
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With his re-entry into the lineup, rookie Evan Gattis made the move to left field with mixed results against the Reds. He has now played catcher, first base and left field in the first 31 games of his career as Gonzalez and the organization try to find more ways to keep his powerful bat in the lineup.
Two-thirds of the regular Chopcast team – Zach Dillard and Cory McCartney — discuss their first glimpse of McCann in major league game action, Gattis’ role moving forward and more Braves news and notes. Here are the highlights:
— What were the good signs Brian McCann gave off in his 2013 debut? Is he the long-term solution at catcher for the Braves?
— Is Gattis the new utility man for the Braves? At what lengths will the Braves go to keep his bat in the middle of the order?
— Just how much shuffling will the team need to do to its roster once Jason Heyward returns to health? Will the opportunities for Gattis and Jordan Schafer be limited?
— After a four-strikeout night, does B.J. Upton need a break at the leadoff spot or should Fredi Gonzalez allow him to break out of his slump in the No. 1 hole?
— Just how good is Andrelton Simmons? Honestly? … No, honestly? How good?