Posted: 4:27 pm Friday, March 14th, 2014

Braves’ Gattis had knee surgery in October 

By David O'Brien

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves catcher Evan Gattis hadn’t caught consecutive games this spring until Thursday, and now we know why: He had knee surgery in October, and the team has been careful with his workload behind the plate.

Gattis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had arthroscopic surgery to remove what he called a dime-sized bone chip that had been “floating around” in his knee right knee since around 2006, the year he had knee surgery known as the OATS procedure, when he was in junior college.

In that invasive procedure, plugs of healthy cartilage and bone are moved from a non-weight bearing part of the knee to replace damaged cartilage. Gattis was on crutches for two months after the 2006 surgery, and soon quit junior college and began a nearly four-year period in which he was out of baseball and wandered the western states, doing various odd jobs, seeking out “spiritual gurus” and searching for a deeper meaning to life.

When he resumed his baseball career years later, the cartilage plugs held up well, but occasionally the bone chip would move to a troublesome spot near the bottom of his quadriceps muscle, and as a result the knee would buckle and Gattis would have temporary excruciating pain.

“The doctor did a really good job,” Gattis said. “I came back good. But I had a fragment floating around for, like, the last seven years. So I had that cleaned out, just smoothed it out.”

Gattis had the arthroscopic procedure the week after the Braves’ division-series loss to the Dodgers.

He made more starts in left field (47) than at catcher (38) as a rookie in 2013, but Gattis started 21 of the first 30 games of the season at catcher – including as many as five in a row — while perennial All-Star Brian McCann was recovering from shoulder surgery. McCann is a Yankee now, and Gattis is the Braves’ primary catcher, after leading major league rookies with 65 RBIs last season and ranking second with 21 homers.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has said he plans to catch Gattis about 100-110 games, with veteran backup Gerald Laird catching most of the others. Gonzalez wants to be careful not to overwork Gattis, who could get occasional starts at first base and a few in left field if needed, but will mostly rest or pinch-hit on days he’s not behind the plate.

The manager wanted to be sure Gattis felt OK after catching consecutive games for the first time this spring.

“It should be fine,” Gattis said Friday. “It’s just a matter of watching it. I ice both knees every day, just because. So they won’t get swollen or sore. It’s preventive. A routine to be able to play the next day.”

11 comments
58Supersports
58Supersports

Gattis  will  be ok.......Laird is better than Doumit but now you know why Wren signed Doumit... Back up if Gattis has problems with knee and his bat.


DrPhill
DrPhill

I wondered why we didn't hear about Orso Blanco in the off season. I hope this condition doesn't jump up and bite us during the season. Gattis is critical to the success of the team. Good luck, Orso Blanco.

bpgt
bpgt

All these injuries and surgeries are very concerning.  What is wrong with these players nowadays?  I wouldn't be surprised if Gattis sits out a lot of the season.  He is not fit to catch or play a full major league season.  McCann will be missed big time.  This season is not shaping up well at all.

Teddy_B
Teddy_B

What about Doumit? He could catch if we needed him to, he was the main catcher for the Pirates when he was here in Pittsburgh. I know he had a concussion and he's got Joe Mauer syndrome now, but hey thats part of the game when you crouch down behind the plate for a living.


I think Doumit would be a better option than Laird. I think that since we goofed and signed Laird for 2 years that Wren will insist we keep "running him out there" until he's a free agent.

P-Man
P-Man

@DrPhill Not that it's all that important...

But it's El Oso Blanco, not Orso...

mcsteveb
mcsteveb

@bpgt  LOL…McCann will be missed, yes. But…how many games did he miss last year?? So, McCann is fit, but Gattis isn't??

Borodawg
Borodawg

@bpgt  Did you not read the part about..."Fredi Gonzalez has said he plans to catch Gattis about 100-110 games..."?

kerryb
kerryb

@bpgt  The doom and gloomers are out already before the season even starts.  Gattis will be fine.  What does Gattis having a bone chip in his knee since 2006 have anything to do with Medlin and Beachy?  The answer is nothing.   He's not going to catch about 50 games this year.  That's not a full major league season.

RBI
RBI

@Teddy_B Doumit is very weak defensively at catcher.  Laird excels defensively.  Doumit's max starts at catcher is only 20 games in any MLB season... there is a reason for that.  Doumit's best position is in the batter's box.  He is only an emergency catcher, especially at this point in his career (he'll be 33 next month).  He may play occasionally in the field at RF/LF/1B.

YoungerThanThatNow
YoungerThanThatNow

In addition to what RBI said, Gerald Laird is not only an excellent defensive catcher but he seems to usually pick up clutch hits when he's in the game. He's not a .300/25-30 HR guy, but he gets the job done and does the things that sometimes don't show up in hitter's stats... like hitting behind the runner to move him into scoring position.

I fail to see where anybody 'goofed' in signing him to a two year deal... they keep 'running him out there' because he continues to 'do his job'!