B.J. Upton Rides Pine Again
In what is now becoming a familiar scenario, Braves outfielder B.J. Upton will ride the pine again in the Braves/Nationals opener. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has opted to play Jason Heyward in center field, Evan Gattis in left and Justin Upton in right.
The elder Upton brother is sitting out for the second night in a row, and fourth game in the last five.
Jordan Schafer has been the usual substitute in center, and has responded with a .313 average and .424 on-base-percentage.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had this to say about Jordan Schafer when asked how much he may be playing in the future.
“We’ll see, the guy has played well,” Gonzalez said. “One thing you always want to do is put your best team out there, or the team that you think gives you the best chance to win a ballgame. He’s played well and he’s playing well right now. We’ll see.”
Braves fans have burned up the online forums and social networks with their frustration at productive players sitting while B.J. plays.
Thursday night only fueled the unrest when usual bench players Schafer, Ramiro Pena and Evan Gattis started and led the Braves to an 11-3 win.
When pressed in the post game press conference about how well the bench players have played, and how much they will be playing in the future, Gonzalez showed that his patience is not limitless.
“There’s some days that the guys sitting on the bench may be better than the guys on the field, and vice versa,” Gonzalez said. “So you got to take every opportunity and put guys in there. I’m sure come the end of June or July, whatever it is, the team that is supposed to be out there, the guys that are supposed to be out there, will be out there.”