April 28, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Braves designated hitter Tyler Pastornicky (1) hits a double in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Pastornicky ready for Braves this season

When Dan Uggla had to take a few games off in August to get LASIK surgery, it seemed like the perfect chance for Tyler Pastornicky to prove his worth to the Braves.

One day later, Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies skied a fairly innocent pop-up to shallow right field towards the foul line. Pastornicky went out, and right fielder Jason Heyward came in. They collided, the ball dropped harmlessly, Rollins ended up at second, and Tyler Pastornicky went down in a heap. Two days later, the infielder had season-ending surgery on his right knee.

Fast forward to present day, and entering his final stages of rehab, Pastornicky is feeling better and more optimistic that he’ll be able to be competitive as Spring Training gets underway. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman spoke with the 23-year old during the Braves Country Caravan, and Tyler indicated that he’s anxious to start playing again.

This next progression is going to be a big one for me. I think it’s going to determine when I can get back on the field. I haven’t been back on the field yet. Hopefully, by the end of next week, I can get back out there. But I’m playing it by ear.

There have been several examples of players returning too soon from injury, only to see themselves back on the shelf shortly thereafter. Matt Kemp, although suffering a different injury, was one of those players and ended up missing far more playing time in 2012 than he intended after an impressive 399 consecutive games played. Pastornicky noted that Derrick Rose, who did suffer the same injury, has had the same problem. Tyler is determined not to be that guy and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy before coming back.

Pastornicky has only played in 96 games at the Major League level between 2012 and 2013, but if the struggles that everyday second baseman Dan Uggla continue into this season, Pastornicky could see his playing time increase. First, though, he has to remain healthy.

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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