LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If there were any doubts about the likelihood of Evan Gattis beginning the upcoming season as Atlanta's starting catcher, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez erased them when he informed Gattis of this plan during a recent phone conversation.
"Evan is one of those guys that likes to be goal-oriented and wants to be told what his role is going to be," Gonzalez said. "We had a nice conversation, and he's getting ready to be our catcher."
While Gattis is projected to receive a majority of the playing time behind the plate, Gerald Laird might be utilized more frequently than most backup catchers. By putting Laird in the lineup a couple times a week, the Braves could minimize the wear and tear placed on Gattis' 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame over the course of the long season.
As Brian McCann missed the first six weeks of this past season recovering from shoulder surgery, Gattis took advantage of the chance to serve as Atlanta's regular catcher by proving capable of handling the defensive requirements behind the plate.
"I thought he did a terrific job," Gonzalez said. "Our pitchers, talking to [pitching coach Roger McDowell], liked throwing to Gattis. So we feel good about that."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.