Braves call up speedy outfielder Richardson

Braves call up speedy outfielder Richardson

Braves call up speedy outfielder Richardson
ATLANTA -- Double-A Mississippi outfielder Antoan Richardson thought he was heading to Triple-A Gwinnett when Mississippi manager Rocket Wheeler called him at a pizza place in Raleigh, N.C.

"[He] told me to see him in his room ASAP," he recalled. "He told me Gwinnett had two games last night, so I had to get on a plane at six in the morning. He's like, 'You're going to get a taxi and you're going to have to drive over to the stadium in Atlanta.'"

Richardson was actually heading to the Braves, marking the first time the 27-year-old Vanderbilt University graduate has been with the big league club.

And it didn't take him long to make an impact. He pinch-hit for starter Randall Delgado in the fifth inning and came away with a bloop single off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw for his first Major League hit.

"It got in on me a little bit, but I was able to bleed it over the second baseman's head," Richardson said. "I thought he had a chance [to catch it], but I had my fingers crossed as I was heading to first base."

Richardson hit .284 with 65 runs scored in 93 games between Mississippi and Gwinnett this season. Speed is his strength, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said the outfielder will mainly be used as a pinch-runner.

"It's exciting to get the opportunity to get to the highest level," said Richardson, who received congratulatory text messages earlier in the morning from former Vandy teammate and current Rays pitcher David Price.

The Braves have been here before with a 27-year-old Minor Leaguer whose primary strength is his quickness. That player -- Jose Constanza, now 28 -- is still making significant contributions for the Braves.

"Whenever you see a player similar to you, you always want to think you could succeed as well," Richardson said. "In Spring Training, a couple of my friends that were in big league camp were saying we were brothers. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to do the things he's done and play as well as he's done."

In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Richardson, the Braves transferred Nate McLouth to the 60-day disabled list. The center fielder is out after undergoing sports hernia surgery.