LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tyler Pastornicky spent most of this month anxiously waiting to be cleared to play in games. Now that he has been, Pastornicky is positioned to realize his goal of returning from left knee surgery in time to be on Atlanta's Opening Day roster.
After spending the early portion of this week playing Minor League games, Pastornicky made his Grapefruit League season debut for the split-squad Braves club that played the Orioles on Friday in Sarasota. He hit a single, made a diving stop behind second base and most importantly did not feel any discomfort in his surgically repaired left knee.
"It felt pretty normal," said Pastornicky, who tore the left anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Aug. 18.
Pastornicky rested on Saturday in preparation of returning to action in Sunday afternoon's game against the Mets. Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez have both said Pastornicky will have enough time to make the preparations necessary to be part of the Opening Day roster.
With Jordan Schafer and Ryan Doumit capable of serving as backup outfielders, it appears the Braves are leaning toward filling their last position-player roster spot with an infielder. The only internal option other than Pastornicky is Tyler Greene, who has made multiple errors in the field and on the basepaths over the past week.
Two years after beginning the season as Atlanta's starting shortstop, Pastornicky is viewed as a defensively limited player whose value primarily comes courtesy of his offensive potential. Still, the Braves have provided strong indication that they plan to give him this last roster spot as long as he remains healthy during the Grapefruit League season's final week.
"I hope so," Pastornicky said. "I'm feeling pretty good. I'm just going to keep playing. It's felt good and I haven't had any setbacks."
Gattis tests sore quad, hopes to return soon
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After testing his sore right quadriceps muscle before Saturday afternoon's game against the Red Sox, Braves catcher Evan Gattis sensed he could return to action within the next couple of days.
Gattis has been sidelined since he tweaked the quad muscle while scoring from first base on Dan Uggla's triple in Monday's win over the Astros. He spent a portion of Saturday morning catching Ervin Santana's bullpen session and running the bases at a regulated speed.
"It didn't bother me catching at all and I didn't think it would," Gattis said. "But I strained it running, so I think running is the biggest thing. I was going to shut it down if I felt anything. I didn't feel anything. But I also wasn't pushing it."
Gattis has described the ailment as something that would not sideline him during the regular season. He hopes to be in the lineup for Monday night's game against the Astros.
• Freddie Freeman's four-hit performance in Saturday's win over the Red Sox increased his Grapefruit League batting average to .356 (16-for-45). Freeman hit seven home runs in both of the previous two Grapefruit League seasons. But he has totaled just four extra-base hits (three doubles and one homer) this year.
• Dan Uggla's two-run shot in Saturday's fifth inning gave him four home runs in a span of 24 at-bats. Maybe equally encouraging is the fact that he has struck out just seven times during this span. The veteran second baseman had struck out eight times in the 18 at-bats that preceded this stretch.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.