3/13/2014 4:54 P.M. ET
Gattis gets test going two straight behind the dish
By Christina De Nicola / Special to MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Evan Gattis took a step forward in his new role as the starting catcher during the Braves' two-day swing at Roger Dean Stadium.
Gattis caught back-to-back games for the first time this spring. He had played consecutive games before, but split time as the backstop and designated hitter.
"He felt great," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That was a good test on his part."
With Atlanta's heat and the way catchers are generally handled, Gonzalez envisions Gattis starting between 100-110 games behind the plate. While in junior college, Gattis sustained a knee injury.
"He's never done it before," Gonzalez said. "We'll monitor, keep him fresh. I think Yadi [Molina] might be the last one that catches 150 anymore. And you have the luxury of [Ryan] Doumit and [Gerald] Laird."
Gattis played 105 games during his rookie season, 42 behind the plate. The 27-year-old also saw time in left field (48) and first base (four).
Gonzalez isn't concerned with the small sample size. Gattis posted a 3.03 catcher's ERA and .993 fielding percentage in 2013. He caught eight of 24 basestealers.
"He's fine catching. He's catching well," Gonzalez said. "I think if I hadn't seen him catch 40 something games last year, I might be a little more worried about him stepping in, but he caught 40-something games and I think he did a nice job.
"I don't think he's a guy that I've got to worry about behind the plate. I think he'll do a nice job. I know he does a nice job following the game plan with the pitchers and that kind of stuff."
Simmons given rare start at DH for Braves
JUPITER, Fla. -- When the Braves took the field for the bottom half of the first inning of Thursday afternoon's game, Andrelton Simmons didn't know what to do.
That's because manager Fredi Gonzalez penciled in the reigning Gold Glove Award winner at designated hitter and batting seventh in the order. Ramiro Pena got the start at short.
"I don't know. I have no idea. I'll try to just watch stuff," said Simmons, who played 156 games at the position in 2013. "I'll try to enjoy it, make the most of it, have a little fun since it is Spring Training."
Simmons said it had been at least two years since he started at DH with Double-A Mississippi.
The 24-year-old, who joked that he would try to hit home runs in his new role, has gone 10-for-35 (.286) with two doubles and four RBIs over 12 games this spring. He went 0-for-2 with a walk, strikeout swinging and flyout to left on Thursday.
"I enjoy playing defense a lot," said Simmons, who will enter his second full big league season. "I take a lot of pride in it whenever I get a chance out there. I'd rather be playing defense, but I guess skip wants me to take the day off [and] give somebody else a chance to play. I'll still get some at-bats, get some work in."
Seeking spot with Braves, Greene praises Cards
JUPITER, Fla. -- Thursday marked a homecoming for non-roster invitee Tyler Greene.
A first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2005, Greene made his Major League debut with the ballclub in '09 and played parts of four seasons with the organization. His family also lives in Jupiter over the offseason.
The 30-year-old infielder developed in the Minors with a few guys in the St. Louis lineup, including left fielder Jon Jay and starter Lance Lynn.
"I was able to learn a lot over there," Greene said. "They really know how to teach the fundamentals of the game and how to play the game the right way. The Cardinal Way they ingrain in us coming up. When you do get that opportunity to get on the big league team, you know what's expected of you and to execute all the fundamentals of the game."
St. Louis traded him to the Astros in 2012 after Greene went back and forth between Triple-A Memphis and the Majors. Greene was released the following March and signed with the White Sox.
Four days after his release from Chicago last August, Greene signed a Minor League deal with the Braves and was assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett. In 13 games, he hit .333 with four doubles, one home run and four RBIs.
Atlanta invited him to Spring Training in January. He is 4-for-23 (.174) with two walks and two steals in 13 games.
"Just coming to compete for a spot," Greene said. "Going to do everything I can on the field and just wait and see what happens and how it plays out. Excited to be part of this organization. A lot of good things happening here. They were able to get into the playoffs last year, so this is a contending team, a team with the goal to be here at the end of the season."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.