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Sutton trying to stick with Braves as Mr. Everything

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Drew Sutton reached the majors in 2009 and has played in 88 games with three teams over the past three seasons.

The versatile switch-hitter has never been on an opening day major league roster, though. He hopes that this is the year.

Sutton signed with Atlanta last fall as minor league free agent after judging he had a better chance with the Braves than in Boston, where he played last season.

"The Red Sox told me I'd be in AAA as insurance again," Sutton said. "I wanted a chance to compete for a job in spring training."

Sutton, 28, got that with the Braves' and Chipper Jones' knee surgery hasn't hurt his chances of starting the year in Atlanta rather than in Gwinnett.

Sutton tailed off at the plate after a red-hot start in the Grapefruit League, but his versatility defensively makes him a good fit for the Braves. He can play anywhere in the infield and has also had time as an outfielder.

"He's a National League player," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It makes him valuable that he can play so many positions."

That Sutton is a switch-hitter also increases Gonzalez's options if he needs someone to pinch hit. He hit homers from both side of the plate for Pawtucket in a game against Gwinnett last May.

"In the American League you don't play if you don't start," Sutton said. "Without the DH, there is a lot more opportunities to get into the game in the National League."

Because of injuries, Sutton got into 31 games last season during three stints with Boston and responded by hitting .315 in 54 at-bats. But he finished the season in the minors, signaling that he really didn't have a future with the Red Sox.

Sutton played multiple infield spots in college at Baylor and that continued after he was a 15th-round draft choice by Houston in 2004. He went to Cincinnati in a deal for Jeff Keppinger in 2009 and made his major league debut that year before being claimed on waivers by Cleveland the next season.

Of the 64 major league games Sutton has played in the field, 20 have been at second base, 19 at shortstop, 11 at third base, nine in the outfield and five at first base.

"I don't really have a favorite," Sutton said. "As long as I have a chance to play, I'm happy. I just want the opportunity. I think I can help a major league team."