MIAMI — Jeff Baker played left field and had an RBI single in the fourth inning Monday in his first start for the Braves since an Aug. 31 trade from Detroit for a player to be named later.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he wanted to give the veteran a start and decided Monday was a good time for it, since Reed Johnson was 1-for-8 in his career against left-hander Wade LeBlanc, the Marlins’ starter for the series opener. Johnson has recently played played left field against left-handers when Martin Prado is at third base.
Baker was 1-for-4 against LeBlanc before Monday, and 0-for-3 with two strikeouts as a pinch-hitter in his only previous action for the Braves.
Brian McCann missed his second consecutive start with tendinitis in his right knee, and Gonzalez said he hoped to have the catcher back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday.
McCann left Saturday’s game after two innings when it became too difficult to squat and move from side to side behind the plate. He was available to pinch-hit Sunday and Monday.
Simmons moves up to 2-hole
With Chipper Jones, McCann and Johnson all out of the lineup Monday, rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons moved up to the 2-hole for only the second time in his brief major league career. In his other starts he’s hit seventh (12), eighth (23) and ninth (two).
Chipper finalist for award
Jones is one of six finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, along with Adam Jones (Baltimore ), Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox), Michael Young (Texas), Skip Schumaker (St. Louis) and Barry Zito (San Francisco).
A field of 30 candidates (one from each team) was narrowed to one player from each division. The candidates were chosen based upon ability to “inspire others to higher levels of achievement by their on-field performances and contributions to their communities.”
It’s part of the annual Players Choice Awards.