LOS ANGELES -- When Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez kept Tyler Pastornicky out of the starting lineup for three consecutive games, the rookie shortstop did not allow the decision to shake his confidence. Instead, he took advantage of an opportunity to clear his head and refine his swing mechanics.The results proved promising, as Pastornicky returned to the Braves lineup on Tuesday night and produced the first three-hit performance of his young career. His ninth-inning leadoff single against Dodgers closer Javy Guerra put him in position to score the game's decisive run. "It's one of those things where I kind of put myself in that slump," Pastornicky said. "I don't think it was one of those physical things that I changed or did. I think it was just pressing. I thought I swung the bat well in the first week and then I think I started to try to do too much after that, rather than just going out there and letting it happen." Before Pastornicky raised his batting average from .171 to .227 (10-for-44) with Tuesday's 3-for-3 performance, Chipper Jones told him to just play the game the way he had during his Minor League days. The 22-year-old shortstop had never played in the Majors before this year. "All a kid like that needs is confidence," Jones said. "Hopefully [Tuesday night] will propel him."
Hudson will make 2012 debut on Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Tim Hudson will make his regular-season debut on Sunday against the Pirates.The Braves were open to the possibility of Hudson waiting one additional day to make his return. But the 36-year-old veteran had no problems after throwing 110 pitches and completing 5 2/3 innings in his final Minor League rehab start on Sunday. With Hudson scheduled to pitch Sunday, Mike Minor will be pitching with an extra day of rest when he starts Monday's series finale. Hudson will be filling the rotation spot vacated when Jair Jurrjens was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett earlier this week. Randall Delgado will remain in the rotation and start Saturday's game against the Pirates.
Kimbrel turns over 'goody bag' to Gearrin
LOS ANGELES -- Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel was happy to learn fellow right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin would be assuming the roster spot of the recently demoted Jair Jurrjens.With Gearrin present, Kimbrel no longer has the least big league service time among the members of the Braves' bullpen. As long as this arrangement stays in place, the Braves closer will not be responsible for the "goody" bag that is carried to the bullpen on a nightly basis. "He couldn't wait for me to get in here to hand that thing off," Gearrin said. "I wasn't even in from the field yet. He met me at the top of the stairs. He just couldn't wait to get rid of it." In a tradition that dates back more than five years, the least-tenured Braves reliever has been responsible for carrying a bag filled with candy, food and sports drinks to the bullpen before every game. The bags have featured My Little Pony, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus in the past. But knowing what responsibility awaited him this year, Kimbrel took action and found a camouflage roller suitcase to use. "He spent a lot of time on the Internet looking for the right bag," Gearrin said.
Leadoff hitter Michael Bourn entered Wednesday having hit safely in 11 of his previous 12 games. He batted .429 (21-for-49) with six stolen bases and a .500 on-base percentage during that span.
Attempting to determine whether 25-year-old catcher prospect Evan Gattis can play other positions, the Braves positioned him in left field with Class A Advanced Lynchburg on Tuesday night. The move did not seem to bother Gattis, who enjoyed a three-hit game that included a pair of homers. He has batted .424 with eight homers and a 1.405 OPS in his first 16 games with Lynchburg.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.