Aside from wearing a Braves uniform, catcher Evan Gattis and pitcher Brandon Beachy don’t have much in common, but the duo share a similar problem. Both Gattis and Beachy have the talent to play in a starting role but there is no easy way to insert them in the lineup.
Every day, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is asked the question “What are you going to do about Beachy?” and every day he gives the same general answer, “I don’t know.”
Kris Medlen pitched six rough innings, giving up four runs on nine hits in a 6-0 series opening loss to the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field Friday night, but in the club house Gonzalez was talking about what to do with Beachy.
“I really don’t know what to do to be honest,” said Gonzalez. “These things have a way of working themselves out and we just have to wait and see what happens but as far as where [Beachy] will play, I don’t know.”
Braves general manager Frank Wren announced during Friday night’s game that Beachy’s return would be delayed due to soreness in his shoulder after a rehab start. Beachy is waiting for the opportunity to play after he was sidelined with Tommy John surgery in June of last season.
This will buy the Braves front office sometime before they have to make a decision, but the question still looms.
Medlen seems like a likely candidate to be replaced after he struggled early, giving up a leadoff home run in the first to former Brave Gregor Blanco and giving up a total of five hits when he was ahead of the count with two strikes.
“I think Medlen has pitched great for us all year, he just hasn’t had any run support to speak of,” Gonzalez said.
Medlen’s 2.0 average in run support is the lowest on the Braves.
The no-run-support theme continued last night as the Braves were shutout for the ninth time this season, tying them for most in the majors. Medlen, whose record dropped to 3-7 last night, still has an ERA of 3.09 (second best on the team). He is also the only Braves starter with bullpen experience after rehabbing from injury.
“I mean I know what it’s like and it sucks because I’ve been there before, I just told [Beachy] to get some rest and take it one day at a time,” Medlen said.
Then there is the question of where to put Gattis. Finding Gattis a spot to play is still a question that goes unanswered. Atlanta could certainly use Gattis’ big bat in the lineup, especially when Atlanta hitters managed to squeak by just two hits off Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, silencing the 45,833 in attendance for most of the night.
“I’m just trying to go out there and produce whenever I get called upon,” said Gattis, who has produced 14 home runs this season to lead all National League rookies. Gattis’ playing time has significantly decreased since the return of six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann.
Gonzalez has even tried playing Gattis at in the outfield position but the 26-year-old rookie becomes a defensive liability late in games and outfielders Justin Upton, BJ Upton and Jason Heyward are finally showing signs of collective hitting as a group.
With so much talent at every position it is not hard to understand why finding a role for Gattis and Beachy has become an arduous task. But the issue of having too much talent seems to be something Gonzalez can handle.
“I’m not lying to you guys when I say I’m not sure what we will do,” Gonzalez said. “These things have a tendency to work out and that’s my line until we make a decision, whatever is best for the team.”