Will B.J. Upton Join Dan Uggla On Braves' Bench?

Braves' Consider Bringing Up Christian Bethancourt

Monday, June 16, 2014
B.J. Upton's performance still leaves much to be desired.
B.J. Upton's performance still leaves much to be desired.
- photo by Tim Evearitt
ATLANTA -- As Christian Bethancourt has continued to surge offensively for Triple-A Gwinnett and B.J. Upton has extended his struggles, the Braves have at least started toying with the idea of moving Evan Gattis to left field.

Though a decision does not necessarily seem imminent, the Braves have discussed the possibility of promoting Bethancourt to serve as Atlanta's starting catcher. If this decision were to be made, Gattis would move to left field and Justin Upton would transition to right field.
To complete this equation, Jason Heyward would replace B.J. Upton in center field.

B.J. Upton provided some glimmer of hope as he produced a .354 on-base percentage in the 15 games played from May 19-June 3. But, he has still hit just .220 with a .301 OBP in his past 25 games. In addition, the Braves have gained more reason to be concerned about his defense. Upton dropped a routine fly ball in Friday's eighth inning and then booted a single that led to a costly run in the eighth inning of Saturday night's 13-inning loss to the Angels. But like with the diving catch he made to rob Josh Hamilton of an extra-base hit in Sunday's seventh inning, he has still occasionally flashed his former defensive brilliance.

The Braves have been more than patient since giving Upton a five-year, $75.25 million contract before the 2013 season. But that patience has worn thin as the defensive miscues have further highlighted the fact that Upton's bid to bounce back from last year's career-worst season has not yet materialized. He has batted .210 with a .634 OPS through his first 64 games.

Meanwhile, as Bethancourt has batted .312 with a .764 OPS in his past 37 games, he has at least given the Braves an alternative. There has never been much reason to be concerned about Bethancourt's defensive skills, which have been deemed Major League ready for the past three years. But now that the 22-year-old catcher is showing some signs of optimism at the plate, the Braves are getting the sense he's ready for a promotion.

Bethancourt, who has been compared to a young Benito Santiago, would certainly provide the Braves a defensive upgrade behind the plate. The team would also seemingly benefit from a defensive perspective by replacing B.J. Upton in center field with Heyward, who leads the Majors with 20 Defensive Runs Saved.

Gattis, who entered Sunday leading the Braves in home runs (15) and OPS (.936), is no stranger to left field. He made 48 starts at the position last year and manned the position throughout the postseason, during which Heyward was in center and Justin Upton was in right.

------ Source: MLB.com

Evan Gattis would be move to left field.
Evan Gattis would be move to left field.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

UTC's Chamblin Second In 800 Meter at Emory Classic

- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Hannah Chamblin (Memphis, Tenn.) took second in the 800 meter run Saturday at the Emory Classic in Atlanta, Ga.   “Hannah had great positioning throughout the race,” Chattanooga head coach Andy Meyer said. “She passed about four [runners] in the last 150 meters.   “Abby’s race was good for her as a freshman. She was ... (click for more)

UTC Women Win 5-2 Over Western Carolina

  The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's tennis team scored a 5-2 win at Western Carolina today. The Mocs improve to 12-4 overall and 2-1 in Southern Conference action with today's win.  UTC won the doubles point, and the first three singles matches, to quickly clinch the team win.  WCU dropped to 11-7 overall and 0-3 in SoCon action. Senior ... (click for more)

2 Shot On Rawlings Street Friday Night; 1 In Critical Condition

Two people were shot, Friday night, and one is in critical condition. At approximately  9:56 p.m.  Chattanooga Police officers responded to the 2000 block of Rawlings Street on a report of a person shot. Officers arrived on scene and located one victim lying next to a vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound. A second victim arrived at a local hospital suffering from ... (click for more)

Car Crashes Into Motel 6 In Dalton; Driver, 17, Admits To Texting While Driving

The Dalton Police Department and Dalton Fire Department responded Saturday morning to a crash at the Motel 6 at Highway 41 and Tibbs Road. The driver of the 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix involved left the roadway and crashed into the Motel 6 building causing severe damage to one of the rooms. There were no major injuries. Investigators believe texting while driving was a contributing ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Geno: Our ‘Me’ Culture

By almost every measure, Geno Auriemma is the best basketball coach in America. His University of Connecticut women are riding a record 109-game winning streak that dates to Nov. 17, 2016. Stanford barely beat them in overtime 3 years ago, but, before that, they won 41 straight. That means UConn is 153-1 and, in the current 109 streak, they have double-figure wins over the opponents ... (click for more)