ATLANTA -- Making his second Major League appearance, Braves left-hander Luis Avilan jogged in from the bullpen Tuesday night with one out in the fourth inning and the bases loaded. Waiting at the plate to face him was Buster Posey, the Giants' All-Star catcher.
The Braves were already reeling after starter Jair Jurrjens allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings and loaded the bases before manager Fredi Gonzalez was forced to go to the bullpen. Posey quickly made the situation worse, hitting a bases-clearing double to left-center field.
"Posey's right now one of the best hitters in the National League," Avilan said. "It's a tough situation and I made a mistake. He hit the ball really hard and really good."
Gonzalez acknowledged it was a difficult spot for anyone, but especially a rookie.
"It's a tough spot to put the young man in," Gonzalez said. "It's just tough. I think the kid did a nice job settling down after that and gave us a pretty good outing."
Avilan did settle down, allowing one run and striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. Perhaps most importantly, Avilan saved Gonzalez from having to use his whole bullpen just to get through the game.
Avilan said he was disappointed he wasn't able to strand the runners he inherited from Jurrjens, but was otherwise pleased with how he pitched.
"First of all, I feel bad because I didn't hold the runners," Avilan said. "But then I did the job and saved the bullpen because I threw a couple, three innings. I feel great. I feel like my pitches were very good."
Gonzalez said Avilan won't be available out of the bullpen for a couple of days after throwing 67 pitches Tuesday. But it was an important role to be filled.
"For a young man who hadn't pitched but a third of an inning in the Major Leagues, I thought he did a terrific job getting us through those middle innings," Gonzalez said.
Chipper ties Brett for third baseman RBI mark
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones has long been considered one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball's history. Now, as he nears the end of his career, he has also legitimized his place among the game's legendary third basemen.
With an opposite-field home run in the 11th inning of Wednesday's 9-4 loss to the Giants, Jones tied George Brett for the most RBIs (1,596) by a player whose primary position was third base. Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews rank third and fourth on this list.
Jones' total accounts for each of the runs he has driven in throughout his career. While he has primarily played third base, he also compiled 227 of his RBIs while playing 363 games as an outfielder.
Schmidt holds the record for most RBIs (1,419) compiled while playing third base. Jones ranks second on that list with 1,316.
As long as Alex Rodriguez remains healthy and continues to play third base, he could vault to the top of this list for players whose primary position has been third base. Rodriguez has already compiled 1,934 RBIs. He has played 1,272 games at shortstop and 1,142 games as a third baseman.
Prado focused on baseball, not contract
ATLANTA -- Martin Prado has impressively bounced back from the most disappointing season of his young career and provided reason to believe he could serve as Chipper Jones' successor as the Braves' starting third baseman next year.
But contrary to some recent speculation, the Braves are not currently attempting to lock him up with a multi-year extension. Prado seemed content with the fact that he has not had any discussions with the club regarding this possibility.
"That is not something I want to think about right now," Prado said. "I just want to focus on this season."
Prado could earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5 million to $7 million in his final arbitration-eligible season next year. As things stand, the versatile veteran would be eligible for free agency for the first time after the conclusion of the 2013 season.
There is a chance the Braves could discuss a multi-year contract with Prado this winter. But the club has rarely negotiated this sort of extension during the middle of the season.
After batting a career-low .262 with a .687 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) during an injury-plagued season last year, a determined Prado dedicated himself to regaining the successful form he possessed when he earned an All-Star selection in 2010. The results have thus far been impressive.
Prado entered Tuesday hitting .317 with a .823 OPS. While primarily positioned at third base and left field, he has also made starts at first base, second base and shortstop this year.
Jones was out of the lineup Wednesday. Gonzalez said Jones told him he was sore, so Gonzalez gave him the day off. Jones is hitting .312 with seven home runs.
Left-hander Jonny Venters could be ready to go to Triple-A Gwinnett for a rehab assignment Friday, Gonzalez said. He would likely throw Friday and Sunday and be on track to rejoin the Braves on Tuesday in Miami. Venters has been on the disabled list with an impingement in his left elbow since July 5.