Braves recall Jace Peterson from Triple-A
ATLANTA — An expected 10-20-day stay in Triple-A unexpectedly turned into more than a month. But Jace Peterson finally made his return to the Braves on Friday, starting at second base for the series opener against the Cubs.
"I’m excited to be back at second, excited to be back in the lineup, and contribute to a good team game," Peterson said.
The 26-year-old, who started 152 games at second base a year ago, lost that full-time job after five games in 2016. He would see time there in just six of the next 15 games before his May 2 demotion.
At the core of his troubles were his bat, as he hit .182 in 50 plate appearances, issues he didn’t necessarily correct in Gwinnett with a .186/.268/.258 slash line with three doubles, two triples and a 15.4 strikeout rate in 97 at-bats.
While he disclosed in January that he went the last four months of 2015 with a partially torn thumb ligament — which played its part in his hitting .228 after a .262 average the first 50 games — Peterson stresses it’s still not bothering him.
"Baseball is a funny game and I think the thumb issue is not an issue and I’m 100 percent healthy and it has nothing to do with the way I’m playing now," he said. "I feel like I’m playing good baseball, it’s just not going my way."
Pushed this spring as a versatile weapon, Peterson played four games in left field in Atlanta and one at third base, and in Triple-A he made 10 starts in center field and 16 at second base.
His being another piece in the vein of Gordon Beckham (who is on the 15-day disabled list) and infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud was part of the allure to bring him back despite his struggles at the plate.
"He’d been playing center field and second base and he wasn’t tearing it up, but I think he is attractive because of his athleticism and he’s versatile and he’s been here and he’s done it before," said Braves manager Brian Snitker.
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His book, ‘Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,’ is out now, and ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners’ will be released Nov. 1, 2016.