Terdoslavich gets first callup, joins Braves' bench
With reserve corps depleted, missing lefty bats, Atlanta's No. 14 prospect joins big club
ATLANTA -- When Joey Terdoslavich received a call late Wednesday night that fulfilled his childhood dream, he suppressed his excitement long enough to playfully tell his father he had injured his ankle.
When his father then asked if he would still be able to play in the Futures Game and Triple-A All-Star Game, Terdoslavich replied, "No I'm not, because I'm going to the big leagues."
The Braves purchased Terdoslavich's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett after placing Jordan Schafer on the disabled list with a right ankle contusion on Thursday morning.
Terdoslavich, who has never previously been called to the big leagues, arrived at Turner Field in plenty of time to prepare for Thursday night's scheduled game against the Marlins. He is rated as Atlanta's No. 14 prospect by MLB.com.
"Whatever they ask me do, I'm ready to do," Terdoslavich said. "I'm here and I don't care. Whatever it is, I'm ready to help any way that I can."
Terdoslavich enhanced his value while hitting .318 with 18 home runs and a .926 OPS in 85 games for Gwinnett this year. The switch-hitting outfielder's surge has allowed him to regain some of the promise he had displayed before struggling at Triple-A in the first two months of the 2012 season.
"He's swinging the bat at Triple-A really, really well," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He swung it in Spring Training for us, and we needed a bat -- a left-handed bat."
While Terdoslavich can play both corner outfield positions and first base if necessary, his primary assignment over the next couple of weeks will be to serve as a versatile power threat off Atlanta's recently depleted bench.
The Braves' bench began to weaken on June 18 when Evan Gattis was placed on the DL with a right oblique strain. The switch-hitting Ramiro Pena underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last week, and Schafer's attempts to play through a right ankle injury he suffered on June 26 did not produce much confidence as he struggled to run during pinch-hit plate appearances the past two nights.
Pena and Schafer had served as the only left-handed hitters on Atlanta's bench since Juan Francisco was designated for assignment in late May. Thus, instead of promoting right-handed power hitter Ernesto Mejia, the Braves had to go with Terdoslavich, who now stands as the only member of Atlanta's bench who can hit from the left side.
Terdoslavich hit .340 (86-for-253) with 17 home runs and a .992 OPS as a left-handed hitter this year with Gwinnett. While recording just 68 at-bats as a right-handed hitter, he batted .235 with one homer and a .686 OPS.
"I hit better right-handed my first three years in pro ball," Terdoslavich said. "I've only had 60-something at-bats right-handed this year. It's really weird. Last year, I had a lot of at-bats right-handed. This year I'll get them in spurts of 10-12 at-bats, and then go two weeks without an at-bat right-handed."
The Braves opted to have Terdoslavich skip Double-A and begin last season as Gwinnett's starting third baseman. After hitting .180 and committing 22 errors in 53 games, he was demoted to Mississippi, where he batted .315 in 78 games and was used almost exclusively at first base.
Terdoslavich focused on learning how to play the outfield while working out with with his former high school team this past winter in Sarasota, Fla. The struggles he has continued to have in the field are a product of the fact his previous experience as an outfielder was restricted to a few games in high school and a few more in the Cape Cod League.
"I've worked really hard playing the outfield, and there's still a lot of things I have to learn," Terdoslavich said. "I'm not going to learn it overnight, but I feel like I've done a pretty good job this year. It's really the first time I've ever played outfield."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.