ATLANTA -- Instead of dealing with a short bench for a few more days, the Braves opted to promote a position player after sending Kris Medlen to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday to prepare to be a starting pitcher back at the big league level.
Mired in an eight-game losing streak, the Braves promoted Jose Constanza to fill Medlen's roster spot. The speedy outfielder provided a spark while inhabiting Atlanta's lineup much of last August. The Braves went 14-7 as he batted .400 during a 21-game span from July 31-Aug. 22.
Constanza started in left field and batted ninth in Tuesday night's game against the Cardinals. The Braves won two of the three games in which he batted ninth while the pitcher batted eighth in early August.
With Constanza batting ninth and Michael Bourn in the leadoff spot, the Braves had two speedy outfielders batting back-to-back after the first turn through the lineup. Shortstop Tyler Pastornicky stayed in front of the pitcher while manning the seventh spot of the lineup.
"You've got to try to push the envelope as much as you can sometimes," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We've lost eight in a row. You've got the right personnel to do it with, with Constanza. You've got Pastornicky, who has hit eighth almost his whole time here. So that's not going to be a big change for him. And why not?"
Constanza has hit .288 with a .363 on-base percentage in 36 games for Gwinnett this year. There is a chance he returns to the Minors later this week, when Freddie Freeman and David Ross are deemed ready to return. The primary reason the bench has been short the past few days stems from the fact that Freeman and Ross are dealing with injuries not serious enough for them to be placed on the disabled list.
Freeman expects to rejoin lineup Wednesday
ATLANTA -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said he has been told his specially made glasses will arrive Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET, and he expects to make an immediate return to the lineup then.
Freeman has been sidelined for the past four days by dry eyes that have made it impossible for him to wear contacts. He has been playing in contacts since he was 14. The glasses Freeman currently has affect his peripheral vision, especially while hitting.
Once the new glasses do arrive, however, Freeman said he would be able to play right away.
"I will have goggles [Wednesday] and we're going to see if they can work [Wednesday]," Freeman said.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn't quite as optimistic about the arrival of Freeman's glasses and is prepared to wait until Friday at Washington to get his first baseman back in the lineup.
"I think it's either on Thursday or Friday," Gonzalez said. "The doctor says everything is a process."
Freeman made another trip to the eye doctor Tuesday, but said the overall prognosis hasn't changed.
"My eyes look 100 percent better, but they're still not healed," Freeman said. "They can look it, but it's a slow process and it's a frustrating process."
Fredi calls meeting, has pep talk with players
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has never been a big proponent of team meetings. But with his team dealing with an eight-game losing streak, he assembled his players late Tuesday afternoon for a short conversation.
"Sometimes you've got to remind them that they are a good club," Gonzalez said. "If you lined up some of the starters that we have beat, it's a sign of a good club. If you lineup up some of the offensive teams our pitchers have beat, it's a good club."
The Braves entered play on May 22 with the National League's second-best record. Exactly one week later, they were staging a meeting and sitting in a last-place tie with the Phillies in the NL East.
"It's just a reminder that we're a good team and we expect to win baseball games as long as we're wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform," Gonzalez said. ""There were no tables thrown or any other kind of crazy stuff."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.