After having surgery to remove his appendix during the night, Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list today, which will force the team to call someone up from the minor leagues to fill his roster spot.
It has been reported that the Braves could replace Heyward with utilityman Tyler Pastornicky, who has played shortstop and second base in the majors but has yet to see time in the outfield, although he has played there in Spring Training. Pastornicky is currently hitting .351 with six doubles and a home run for Triple-A Gwinnett.
I think the Braves should go another way. I think it’s time for Atlanta to bring back the “Jose Constanza Bonanza.”
Two seasons ago, the 5-foot-9, 150-pound Constanza replaced Heyward while he was out with an injury and ended up hitting .303 with two homers, 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 42 games, spending time at every outfield position along the way. He batted leadoff in some games and eighth and ninth in others, the latter of which was really fun to watch as it put him back-to-back with then-Braves center fielder Michael Bourn.
With the inability of B.J. Upton to make consistent contact in the leadoff spot — or any other position in the batting order, for that matter — I think Constanza could be the answer that the Braves are looking for. He would provide them with more of a prototypical leadoff man who could steal bases and really set the table for the rest of their dangerous lineup.
Although he would probably find himself back in the minors when Heyward returns, the 29-year-old from the Dominican Republic could be just the spark that Atlanta needs to get hot again.