Evan Gattis had been targeted for the cleanup spot before hitting .204 (10-for-49) during the Grapefruit League season. Gattis' struggles led Gonzalez to move him down to the seventh spot on Monday. This put the second-year catcher between Dan Uggla and eight-hole hitter Andrelton Simmons.
"[Making out the lineup] is just about what fits the needs of your club," Gonzalez said. "People make too big of a deal about the lineup."
By placing Upton in the second spot, the Braves are counting on the veteran outfielder to be more consistent than he was last year, when he produced career lows in batting average (.185) and on-base percentage (.268).
The Braves are hoping Upton benefits from the increased number of fastballs he could see batting between leadoff hitter Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, who will be followed by Johnson and Justin Upton.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.