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Resurgent Terdoslavich relishes first call to the bigs

Staff Photo: John Bohn . Joey Terdoslavich, a first baseman with the Gwinnett Braves, took part in Media Day at Coolray Field Wednesday.

Staff Photo: John Bohn . Joey Terdoslavich, a first baseman with the Gwinnett Braves, took part in Media Day at Coolray Field Wednesday.

ATLANTA -- Joey Terdoslavich wasn't in a good mood Wednesday night.

The Gwinnett Braves right fielder had just gone 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts in a 13-0 shellacking by the Norfolk Tides in Virginia. He was eating dinner in the visitor's clubhouse when pitching coach Jaime Dismuke called him to manager Randy Ready's office.

His night got better from there.

"I went into the office and he told me that I was going up (to the big leagues). I was a little shocked," Terdoslavich said. "I was a little worried, I was thinking about our game and the next thing I know, I was going up. It was pretty cool."

This is the 24-year-old Terdoslavich's first time in the majors.

The Braves added Terdoslavich to the 40-man roster officially Thursday, transferring pitcher Jonny Venters to the 60-day disabled list and placing Jordan Schafer on the 15-day DL with a right ankle contusion.

Schafer's DL stint can't be pushed back, most likely giving Terdoslavich a full 15 days with Atlanta. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to use Terdoslavich as a switch-hitter off the bench, mostly from the left side.

With the Class AAA G-Braves, Terdoslavich is hitting .340 from the left side with 17 of his 18 home runs and 49 RBIs. In limited at-bats from the right side, he's hitting .235.

"This is the weirdest splits I've had, ever," he said, noting just 68 plate appearances from the right side compared to 253 from the left.

Terdoslavich's first call Wednesday night went to his father and his lifelong hitting coach in Florida. And Joey Terdoslavich II couldn't help but mess with his old man, briefly.

"I told him I had hurt myself coming down the stairs because he's always giving me a hard time with things like that," Terdoslavich said. "He said, 'Are you still going to play in the all-star game?' I said, 'No, because I'm going to the big leagues.' He was like, 'You better not be messing with me.' It was special. He was really excited."

His father, Joe Terdoslavich I, plans to fly to Philadelphia for the Braves series against the Phillies and then will be in the stands when his son dresses against the Miami Marlins.

Sitting in the clubhouse at Turner Field, Terdoslavich treated his call-up as professionally as he could, but couldn't help hearkening back to this time a season ago. Hitting .180 in 53 games with 22 errors with the Gwinnett Braves, the then-third baseman was sent down to Class AA Mississippi. A hard fall for a player touted as a potential replacement for Chipper Jones.

But he kept working, first on his swing, trying to erase a hitch in his wind-up and also on his defense; first in the infield and during the winter in the outfield. That led to this season and his resurgence. Still learning right field, but growing more comfortable in the outfield, his bat has been the best in Gwinnett. He's hitting a team-high .318 and his play earned him a spot in both the Class AAA All-Star Game and on the U.S. Team in the Futures Game during All-Star weekend. He wasn't sure he'd play in both games during the coming All-Star break. Now, he doesn't plan to play in neither.

"This is where everybody wants to be," he said. "If I have to miss the all-star games, I am fine with that."

Shaking hands and accepting congratulations from new teammates and others Thursday, Terdoslavich seemed fine with anything -- except the strikeout in his first major league at-bat later that night.

"Whatever, whatever they ask me to do. I am here," he said. "I don't care. Whatever it is. I am ready to help in any way that I can."

Comments

raah 1 year, 5 months ago

I started following Joey's career last year and I had a chance to talk to him before a game on June 8th. He said at the time that he didn't care where the big team played him as long as he could be a part of being on a major league team. I don't understand the knock on his play in the outfield. He gets to every ball and has a good arm, so why the complaints? Good luck Joey and stay healthy...

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