Johnson, who has been battling tendinitis in his Achilles, tweaked the injury while trying to leg out a ground ball in the eighth inning. With Johnson going down, the Braves’ outfield now consists of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Joey Terdoslavich, Jose Constanza and Evan Gattis. To add some depth, the Braves have now called up Todd Cunningham from Triple-A Gwinnett.
At best, it’s a rag-tag group. With Justin Upton struggling mightily at the plate, Heyward having battled injury all season once again, Terdoslavich a true rookie, Gattis grossly inexperienced in the outfield and Constanza a platoon player, Freddi Gonzalez is being forced to make the best of what he has.
Current Braves outfielders on the DL include B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer and now Reed Johnson. While Schafer and Johnson have not been true starters and B.J. Upton has been nothing short of abysmal at the plate, every injury hurts. Schafer and Johnson have both been spectacular as spot-starters and pinch-hitters, providing that timely spark that every championship team needs.
However, what the Braves really need is production from their starting outfielders.
Heyward has been hitting the ball much better over the last two weeks, and Justin Upton has shown small signs of pulling out of his season-long slump recently. If B.J. Upton (who is slated to come off the DL soon) can come back from injury and be the player he was last year, the Braves’ outfield could finally provide the production everyone expected it to at the onset of the season.
And if the big three in the outfield can carry the Braves to a strong finish to the season and a showing in the playoffs, all may be forgiven for their nearly season-long woes.