The Atlanta Braves took one step closer to finalizing their opening day roster before Tuesday's game. The team sent shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, outfielder Jose Constanza, and reliever David Carpenter to triple-A. The demotions of Pastornicky and Constanza send the message that outfielder Jordan Schafer has made the opening day roster.
Pastornicky was one of the hottest hitters this spring, but was competing against the slick-fielding utility infielder Ramiro Pena for a backup infield spot, and Schafer for a possible fifth outfielder and bench spot. Both Pena and Schafer are out of minor league options, and if the Braves didn't add them to their opening day roster they could risk losing them to another team.
Pastornicky will return to triple-A and continue to work on his defense, making him a more valuable utility player. Constanza will return to the league in which he won a batting title last year, and continue to hope that the Braves once again call his name this season.
The demotion of Carpenter leaves two players battling for the last spot in the bullpen. Anthony Varvaro and Cristhian Martinez, both out of minor league options. Whichever pitcher does not make the team will likely be traded to avoid being lost on waivers. This decision could come down to the final days before the season as other teams look to solidify their bullpen.
The only remaining position player roster battle is the one for backup catcher between Evan Gattis and Matt Pagnozzi. Gattis brings offense to the position, while Pagnozzi brings Major League backup experience and good defense. This is possibly the most eagerly awaited decision of spring training -- will the Braves usher in the Gattis Era?