NEW YORK — Reed Johnson’s previous success against Johan Santana – 16-for-31 with two homers — assured he’d have a spot in Saturday’s lineup against the Mets left-hander. But this time, Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t going to bench suddenly hot-hitting Dan Uggla to make it happen.
Uggla got a rest Monday when the Braves faced Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, whom he’d struggled against. In that game, Johnson played left field and Martin Prado moved to second base.
But Saturday, Johnson played left field and Uggla stayed in the lineup, despite entering with a career line of 1-for-21 with one homer and 12 strikeouts against Santana.
Uggla was 11-for-39 (.282) with six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in his past 11 games before Saturday, including 6-for-10 with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs in his past three. He hit a two-run homer Friday.
“Talking to Walk [hitting coach Greg Walker] about him, he said, ‘Fredi, this is the best I’ve seen him look,’” Gonzalez said. “And he’s a threat, no matter what.”
Bethancourt fractures hand
Top Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt broke the fifth metacarpal in his left hand Thursday when struck by a pitch in the 13th inning of a game for Double-A Mississippi.
Braves general manager Frank Wren, who was at the game, said the injury was similar to one that Omar Infante had in 2009 with the Braves. Infante missed three months after being hit by pitch that broke the fifth metacarpal of his left hand.
Braves rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons is also out with a broken fifth metacarpal, though he was hurt while sliding. Simmons is expected to return in about three weeks, which would be nearly two months after he was hurt.
The injury ended a difficult season for Bethancourt, 20, who missed more than a month with a hamstring injury early and hit .243 with two homers and a .275 on-base percentage in 71 games in his first season above Class A. The cannon-armed catcher is rated the Braves’ top position-player prospect and one of the best catching prospects in baseball.
Aug. 26 game moved for ESPN
The Braves’ Aug. 26 game at San Francisco has been switched to a night game (8:05 p.m. Eastern Time) to accommodate ESPN. It’s the second Braves Sunday game in two weeks that’s been moved to accommodate ESPN, which had already picked up Sunday’s series finale against the Mets.