07/15/12 2:08 PM ET
Janish appreciative of fresh start with Braves
By Jon Cooper / Special to MLB.com
New Braves shortstop Paul Janish sees his first trade as an exciting opportunity.
"You get a fresh start, so that's a good thing," said the 29-year-old Janish, who was acquired Saturday afternoon from the Reds in exchange for Minor League pitcher Todd Redmond. "In this game, you have a tendency to get labeled one way or the other, whether it's good or bad. So it's good to have a fresh start. I'm excited to be here in Atlanta."
Janish, who had spent his entire career in the Cincinnati organization since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, found out about his fresh start while in the clubhouse at Louisville Slugger Field on Saturday afternoon, doing a crossword puzzle prior to the Bats' game against the Gwinnett Braves. Manager David Bell called him into his office and told him the news.
"It's the craziest thing. I had just found out and like 30 minutes later, I had like 20, 25 texts," he said with a laugh. "I don't know how it works so fast nowadays, but it was pretty funny. Everybody from back home even was sending me stuff. News travels fast."
Janish, who is wearing No. 4 with the Braves, packed a suitcase and a couple of bags, then drove the approximately five hours to Atlanta, with his father, Tom. They arrived in Atlanta around 1:30 a.m. ET.
The whirlwind of good news continued Sunday morning when he met Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"I said, 'How was the trip?'" said Gonzalez. "He goes, 'Good. Got in about 1, 1:30.' I said, 'You're in the lineup.'"
Janish hit eighth in his Braves debut with his dad looking on.
Janish said he already felt at home in his new clubhouse, and felt especially comfortable being reunited with fellow Houston native Michael Bourn and David Ross, whom he played with in Cincinnati.
A career .221 hitter in 324 Major League games, Janish admits he's struggled with his consistency at the plate, something he's looking to improve. But right now, offense is not an issue for the Braves.
"We didn't bring him in to win the batting title," said Gonzalez. "We brought him in to shore up our defense and catch the ball. He's a guy that's going to catch the ball and make the routine play. We made the deal for him to play shortstop and hopefully bridge the gap until [Andrelton] Simmons gets healthy."
Defense has never been an issue with Janish, who has a career .981 fielding percentage at short.
"I'm going to be a catch-and-throw guy for the majority of my career and I'm fine with that," he said. "I take a lot of pride in defense. Being here, obviously wins are big right now and from here on out, so it's whatever I can do to help."
Diaz starts in left; Prado spells Uggla at second
ATLANTA -- Not a lot of players can claim to have Mets ace Johan Santana's number.
Matt Diaz can. That's why Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez started Diaz in left field Sunday afternoon in the series finale.
"Matty's got really good numbers against Santana. Really good numbers, Numbers that you can't ignore," said Gonzalez. "We put him out there in left field and keep [Martin] Prado in the lineup somehow by moving him to second base."
Entering Sunday, Diaz had a career .514 batting average against Santana (18-for-35), with a homer, four doubles and four RBIs. Only Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson (.516) has a better average against Santana amongst hitters with at least 30 career at-bats. Diaz also boasts a .714 slugging percentage and .1.242 OPS.
In two matchups in 2012, Diaz was 2-for-3 with a single and a double.
To get Diaz in the lineup, Prado filled in for All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla, who was out of the starting lineup for just the second time this season.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hoped for good things from starter Ben Sheets, who made his first start Sunday nearly two years to the day of his last Major League start (July 19, 2010, with the Oakland A's), but was going to keep an eye on him.
"We're not looking for him to pitch a complete-game shutout," Gonzalez said. "Just give us an opportunity to stay in the game and see what he can do. I told him was just be honest with us. If you feel like you've had enough after five, whatever the pitch count is, just let us know and we'll go on and he'll go on to the next start."
With an off-day Monday, the entire Braves' bullpen was on call Sunday. A possible exception might be Cristhian Martinez, who has thrown each of the past two days -- 34 total pitches, 17 each day. Should the game go extra innings, Mike Minor, Wednesday's scheduled starter, would be the long man.
Tyler Pastornicky's next appearance with the Braves won't come out of left field, but he may play there. Pastornicky has been taking fly balls at Triple-A Gwinnett.
"We have Pastornicky, who can give us that super-utility off the bench in different spots," Gonzalez said. "Don't be surprised if you see Tyler out in left field one game."
Shortstop Jack Wilson, who left Friday night's game with a dislocated middle joint on his right pinky and was placed on the disabled list Saturday, is expeceted to play a couple of rehab games before coming back. With newly acquired Paul Janish and Pastornicky available, Gonzalez isn't going to rush Wilson back.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.