Gonzalez gave days off to catcher Brian McCann, second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Michael Bourn. The skipper said it's not a benching, just a day off, something players need from time to time.
Bourn went 0-for-8 in the first two games of the Washington series, and Uggla was 1-for-10. McCann fared better, going 3-for-8 against the Nationals.
Reed Johnson started in center and batted second. David Ross caught and hit sixth, with Tyler Pastornicky (second base) batting seventh.
Gonzalez said this is not a benching or anything like that. He gave Chipper Jones the night off on Tuesday, and might very well do the same thing Thursday since the Braves play in San Francisco after a long overnight trip following the series finale.
"It's just giving them a day, and they all knew about it," Gonzalez said. "We had talked about it. They were fine."
The good news was that these moves give the manager three All-Stars on the bench. Gonzalez said it's not always an easy thing to make changes like this.
"I think most people and most fans think it's easy, but when you live with these guys and you know the hard work that they put in in the cages, it's [tough]," Gonzalez said. "When those guys get up to the batter's box, you're in there with them. It's difficult to come and tell somebody 'You're not playing.'"