Uncooperative weather is not the only news coming out of Colorado for the Atlanta Braves. The team announced that right fielder Jason Heyward underwent a successful appendectomy at Rose Medical Center in Denver on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, the Braves placed Heyward on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 21. They have recalled infielder Tyler Pastornicky from Triple-A Gwinnett. Pastornicky is batting .351 with a homer, seven RBI and 11 runs scored in 18 games.
Heyward had gotten off to a slow start in 2013, batting just .121 with two home runs and five RBI in 17 games prior to the procedure. Recovery time typically requires approximately two weeks according to the Mayo Clinic.
Atlanta has multiple options in the outfield during Heyward’s absence, but the most likely solution would be to platoon reserve outfielders Reed Johnson and Jordan Schafer in right field.
The club could slide Justin Upton over to right, which would allow Evan Gattis to start in left. Upton played right field exclusively while with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2007-2012, before shifting to left field after being acquired by Atlanta in January.
Gattis, a catcher who has played a handful of games at first base in order to keep his bat in the lineup on a daily basis, has 37 games of outfield experience in the minor leagues. The return of Freddie Freeman will put an end to the shuffling of Gattis and Chris Johnson at first base.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has utilized Gattis as the primary cleanup man after Freeman was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique on April 7. Gattis played six games in left field during spring training, starting two of them.