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Gattis' bat, improving defense keeps him in mix

Gattis' bat, improving defense keeps him in mix play video for Gattis' bat, improving defense keeps him in mix

JUPITER, Fla. -- All Evan Gattis does is hit. Actually, that's not fair. Gattis has done more than hit this spring, and that's why he's still very much in the conversation for a roster spot when the Braves break camp.

Gattis, 26, served as the Braves' starting catcher on Friday and singled in three at-bats. That continued an excellent spring at the plate for the right-handed hitter. He improved to 14-for-32 (.438) for the spring with two home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored.

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He's also held his own behind the plate and in the outfield. And with little doubt that Gattis can hit -- he slugged .607 over three Minor League levels last year -- the biggest question is his defense.

"About average," manager Fredi Gonzalez said when asked about Gattis' performance in the field. "Better than average, really. I thought behind the plate he's handled himself great. Left field, I don't know how many innings he's played out there, but he's fine. And obviously his bat is his bat."

Gonzalez said there absolutely could be a spot for Gattis on the Opening Day roster. Gattis' bat is difficult to ignore.

"When you put a guy [in the lineup], you know you're going to give him four at-bats," Gonzalez said. "You don't know if the ball is ever going to get hit to him. [So] play him. Then you've got a lead or whatever, you figure something out defensively."

Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }