Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is taking advantage of his new fourth outfielder Reed Johnson, first to rest center fielder Michael Bourn on Wednesday night and then on Thursday he played him in left field to rest Martin Prado.
Prado had made 28 consecutive starts since the last time he was out of the lineup on June 29 against the Nationals. He had started 101 of the Braves’ first 104 games before Thursday.
Prado went 0-for-5 on Wednesday night, hit into two double plays and committed an error in left field which allowed a run.
“You could tell,” Gonzalez said. “Certain guys you can tell when they need a breather, every once in a while. And like we talked about it, we’ve been running them pretty hard, all three of those guys in the outfield.”
Since June 29, Prado has hit .239 (28-for-117) in 28 games since then to see his average fall from .323 to .298.
“He’s a little out of sync,” said Chipper Jones. “His swing is drifting a little bit. Whenever he struggles he drifts and when he gets out on that front foot, he’s committing a little early instead of driving that ball to the off field, and slashing it to the off field like we’ve seen him do hundreds of times. He’s basically just flipping the ball to first and second.”
Jones said by him committing early he sacrifices power.
“When you get out on your front foot you have nothing left,” Jones said. “You have no power, you have no legs. I think maybe he might be anticipating pitches instead of reacting to pitches and those breaking balls on the outside part of the plate. Even the fastballs, he doesn’t have anything left in his swing to be able to drive the ball to the off field like he normally does.”