The Atlanta Braves optioned backup catcher Evan Gattis to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.
Gattis, who began the year by hitting .281 with 11 HR and 39 RBI in his first two months of play, has struggled mightily in the month of August. In just 12 games played so far this month, he has posted a .139 BA, seeing his overall season average drop to .238.
Atlanta manager Freddi Gonzalez stated that Gattis would be sent down for the weekend and recalled on Monday when Gwinnett’s season ends. Gonzalez cited a need for regular at bats as the primary reason for Gattis’ demotion.
For most of the season Gattis has been an extraordinary pinch hitter and spot starter, giving the Braves a much needed spark off the bench. He, along with Jordan Schafer and Ramiro Pena (before the utility infielder went down with a season ending injury), has won multiple games for the Braves with timely hits and clutch at bats.
Gattis stated himself that his goal in being sent down was to “try to get hot” for the playoffs. With Jason Heyward questionable for the postseason, the Braves could certainly use a hot bat like Gattis’ to up their offensive firepower. Being sent down to get regular playing time may be just what Gattis needs to get started back up.
He’s going to need to make some serious adjustments to have sustained success at the big league level (learning to hit or not swing at the high fastball is where he should start), but if he can return to his previous form in time for the playoffs, he could help the Braves make a serious push for a World Series championship.