LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Stefan Gartrell was disappointed when the Braves did not provide him a call to the Majors while in the midst of an impressive, power-filled season last year. But now that the 28-year-old outfielder is in the club's big league camp as a non-roster invitee, he knows it is his responsibility to impress manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff.
"I try to live in the moment or play in the moment, but I'm not going to lie, because it is a goal I've had my whole life, to be in the big leagues," Gartrell said. "People say, 'Oh, you're this close.' It's cool to hear it, because you're like, 'Yeah, I'm really close to realizing a dream.' But at the same time, you're like, 'Man, I was this close to realizing a dream, but it didn't happen.' But it's good motivation."
The Braves acquired Gartrell from the White Sox in April, and then watched him hit .260 with 25 homers and a .499 slugging percentage in 116 games with Triple-A Gwinnett. But even as the team struggled to get production from its corner outfielders last year, it did not promote him.