ATLANTA -- Beginning Sunday, Major League clubs will have the opportunity to work with an expanded roster for the remainder of the regular season. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he does not expect more than five players to be added to his roster over the next few days.
It is often easy to predict which Minor Leaguers will be given an opportunity to either get a taste of the big league level or strengthen a specific area of need during the season's final month. But there has been some indication that there might be at least one surprise addition to Atlanta's roster.
Evan Gattis was optioned on Friday night to get regular at-bats during Triple-A Gwinnett's final three regular-season games. Outfielder Jose Constanza was recalled from Gwinnett on Saturday to fill Gattis' roster spot. Constanza will likely remain with Atlanta through the end of the regular season.
Gattis and outfielder Todd Cunnigham are expected to rejoin Atlanta's roster on Tuesday. Another player the Braves hope to add at some point in September is Reed Johnson, who has been sidelined since July 29 with left Achilles tendinitis.
A couple of other expanded-roster options are right-handed pitchers Freddy Garcia and David Hale. While Hale is already on the 40-man roster, the Braves would have to create a spot for Garcia, the veteran pitcher who was sent to Gwinnett immediately after the Braves acquired him from the Orioles on Aug. 23.
Both Hale and Garcia could provide depth to the bullpen or make an occasional start and allow the Braves to stick with their plan to give some of their starting pitchers extra rest over the next few weeks.
Top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt stands as one of the top candidates to potentially replace free-agent-to-be Brian McCann as Atlanta's starting catcher as early as next year. Bethancourt is already on the 40-man roster. But Gonzalez has indicated he does not expect to add another catcher.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.