ATLANTA -- Braves fans who have been clamoring for Tommy La Stella's arrival got their wish on Wednesday, when the second baseman received his first call to the Major League level.
La Stella is expected to be in Boston tonight to begin his role as Atlanta's new starting second baseman. The Braves created a 25-man roster spot for him by optioning Tyler Pastornicky to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Braves second basemen have hit a Major League-worst .165 and compiled an abysmal .503 OPS -- better only the Padres .502 thus far this season. Ramiro Pena and Pastornicky have primarily filled the position since Dan Uggla lost his starting job during the first week of May.
La Stella has provided indication he could prove to be the contact presence the Braves lineup desperately needs. The 25-year-old left-handed hitting second baseman has batted .293 with a .384 on-base percentage and a .359 slugging percentage in 47 games with Triple-A Gwinnett this year.
While he lacks power and speed, La Stella has consistently shown sound plate discipline throughout his Minor League career. He has batted .322 with a .407 on-base percentage in the 288 games he has played since the Braves selected him in the eighth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
La Stella has drawn 136 walks and struck out just 102 times in 1,196 professional plate appearances. He has maintained this impressive trend since being introduced to the Triple-A level for the first time this year. He drew 25 walks and struck out 14 times in 198 plate appearances with Gwinnett.
When speculation about La Stella's potential promotion began heating up during the early portion of this month, it was revealed that the Braves are not comfortable with the prospect of eating the remainder of the money (now approximately $22 million) Uggla is owed through the remainder of the 2015 season.
So it appears , Uggla will remain on the 25-man roster to likely continue filling a backup role that is limited given he has never played anywhere other than second base. The versatile Pena will continue serving as the Braves primary backup infielder.
---- Source: MLB.com