Constanza called up, starts in left field

Constanza called up, starts in left field

ATLANTA -- Instead of dealing with a short bench for a few more days, the Braves opted to promote a position player after sending Kris Medlen to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday to prepare to be a starting pitcher back at the big league level.

Mired in an eight-game losing streak, the Braves promoted Jose Constanza to fill Medlen's roster spot. The speedy outfielder provided a spark while inhabiting Atlanta's lineup much of last August. The Braves went 14-7 as he batted .400 during a 21-game span from July 31-Aug. 22.

Constanza started in left field and batted ninth in Tuesday night's game against the Cardinals. The Braves won two of the three games in which he batted ninth while the pitcher batted eighth in early August.

With Constanza batting ninth and Michael Bourn in the leadoff spot, the Braves had two speedy outfielders batting back-to-back after the first turn through the lineup. Shortstop Tyler Pastornicky stayed in front of the pitcher while manning the seventh spot of the lineup.

"You've got to try to push the envelope as much as you can sometimes," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We've lost eight in a row. You've got the right personnel to do it with, with Constanza. You've got Pastornicky, who has hit eighth almost his whole time here. So that's not going to be a big change for him. And why not?"

Constanza has hit .288 with a .363 on-base percentage in 36 games for Gwinnett this year. There is a chance he returns to the Minors later this week, when Freddie Freeman and David Ross are deemed ready to return. The primary reason the bench has been short the past few days stems from the fact that Freeman and Ross are dealing with injuries not serious enough for them to be placed on the disabled list.