Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.
Michael Bourn knew it was coming.
Despite the centerfielder’s current hot streak at the plate, he was going to get a rest during the Braves’ stretch of 33 games in 34 days. Bourn will sit tonight against the Marlins, his first day off of the season in which he has played all 332 innings.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez told Bourn several days ago his turn on the bench was coming. He informed him last night that he would get the day Wednesday off.
“I’m OK with it,” Bourn said. “We are in a long stretch. [Gonzalez] said he wants to give everyone a day where they can relax and get through it.
“No matter if you want to admit it or not, your body needs a rest every now and then. I love being out there, of course, but it’s a good time to pick.”
Gonzalez said there is some concern about Bourn’s health and the rest would be beneficial.
“Nothing major, just the legs are a little banged up,” Gonzalez said.
Bourn leads the National League with 55 hits and is tied for first with 17 multi-hit games. His .340 average is second in the league. He has hit safely in five straight games, 17 of the past 18 and 30 of the Braves’ 37 this season.
Bourn said he was not concerned at all that a day off would affect his torrid hitting.
“You can’t run these guys into the ground,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve always had good success with giving a guy a breather. They come back and they are fine.”
With Bourn out of the leadoff spot, rookie Tyler Pastornicky will bat first and Jason Heyward will play center field. Gonzalez had a lineup with Martin Prado batting first but opted to move Pastornicky into the spot to limit the number of lineup changes.
“You put Prado first, then Pastornicky second and then you start messing with the whole cohesiveness of the lineup,” Gonzalez said. “This is just one move.”
Pastornicky learned of the batting order when he arrived at the clubhouse today. He will bat leadoff for the first time this season. The shortstop said he batted in the top three spots for most of his minor-league career.
“It will be fun to hit in the first inning but other than that it doesn’t really change how I go about it,” Pastornicky said. “I’m still going to have the same at-bats and try to grind them out.”
Gonzalez is not concerned with Heyward moving from right to center field. He played the position several games in spring training to get ready for just this situation. Heyward is the only other centerfielder on the roster, Gonzalez explained.
Chipper Jones will also get a day off after appearing in five straight games.
Gonzalez did say before the game that Bourn might not get the entire night off. If the Braves are winning late in the game he would move Heyward back to right and put Bourn back in center for defensive reasons. As it turned out, Bourn pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth with the Braves trailing 8-4. He flied out to left field.