LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – If the Braves need Drew Sutton to play some first base in place of injured Freddie Freeman or some shortstop in place of injured backup Jack Wilson this spring, it won’t be a problem.
That’s what he does.
And if third baseman Chipper Jones is a late scratch from any games and Sutton is around, he has experience in the last-minute fill-in thing at that position, having gone through it last season with the Boston Red Sox.
“Last year I played five positions, and it was kind of the same situation because [third baseman Kevin] Youkilis was banged up,” said Sutton, who hit .315 with a .362 on-base percentage and seven doubles in 60 plate appearances for the Red Sox.
He played in 31 games and made four starts at third base before breaking a finger in August.
“I’d show up some days on day games and he’d be in the lineup, then an hour into [pregame] they’d be like, ‘Hey, he can’t go today.’ So I think it’s beneficial that I’ve been in that spot before and I’ve played well doing it.
“I’ve started games at short, I’ve started games at second, I’ve played games at first, I’ve started games in left … I can move around.”
Sutton, 28, played at least five games at five different positions during the past three seasons with Cleveland, Cincinnati and Boston, including 20 games at second base and 19 games (13 starts) at shortstop.
He has a .258 average and .322 OBP in 178 career plate appearances, with 16 extra-base hits (three homers) and 24 RBIs.
Signed to a minor-league contract that included a non-roster invitation to spring training, Sutton and the well-traveled Josh Wilson could get more playing time at shortstop this spring with Jack Wilson nursing a strained calf.
“ I’ll probably spend a little more time at short, probably not so much for the season as for spring training,” Sutton said. “Because I think once [Jack Wilson] gets back, he’s going to be the guy to play short when [rookie starter Tyler] Pastornicky doesn’t.
“Then you’ve got [second baseman Dan] Uggla that plays 150-something games, and you’ve got Freddie [Freeman] that plays 150-something games.”
Josh Wilson, 30, has played primarily shortstop during his five-year major league career, but also has plenty of experience at second base and third base. He has just a .227 average and .279 OBP in just over 1,000 career plate appearances.