Gattis is know as El Oso Blanco — White Bear — within the Braves organization. He hadn't played above Double A before Brian McCann's offseason shoulder surgery created a chance to win a job in spring training. He took advantage of it and entered the weekend hitting .391 with three home runs in six games.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez could have a delicate situation to handle when McCann returns from the disabled list. He's expected to be back in two to three weeks.
"It's not a quarterback controversy or anything," Gonzalez said. "You have to do it. He fits in that No. 4 hole until (Freddie) Freeman gets back or McCann gets back. And who knows then? Shoot, at the pace he's going, he may have 12 or 13 (homers) in that 4-hole. It's just good for the club for him to hit in that 4-hole. I'm glad it has worked out."
Stepping up: The White Sox never believed slightly built shortstop Eduardo Escobar could hit enough to be a big league regular. That's why they sent him to the Twins in the Francisco Liriano trade last season. He hopes to prove them wrong.
The 24-year-old won a job on the Twins' bench in spring training but has been hitting his way into the lineup, going 6-for-12 with a double and five RBIs entering Saturday. Batting left-handed, the 175-pound switch hitter crushed a Jeremy Guthrie pitch for a homer that traveled almost 400 feet to left field on Tuesday.
"That was impressive,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He can swing the bat, but I don't think any of us knew he could hit it that far opposite field. That was a pretty good swing.''
Escobar hit for surprising power in the Arizona Fall League two years ago but had only 15 homers in 2,298 minor league at-bats. The real sign of his low ceiling was a .312 on-base percentage in the minors, but he's responding to his work with hitting coach Tom Brunansky.
The last word: "Only the supremely wise or abysmally ignorant do not alter.'' — The Giants' Hunter Pence on changes to his weightlifting regimen, which he says are helping him be productive.