The Braves optioned outfielder Jose Constanza and infielder Tyler Pastornicky to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday, making official what seemed likely for weeks: Jordan Schafer and Ramiro Pena will be on the opening-day roster. Reliever David Carpenter was also optioned to Gwinnett, leaving 31 on the camp roster. As of Tuesday morning, that left the only remaining decisions for the Braves at backup catcher — Evan Gattis appears the likely choice over Matt Pagnozzi — and one bullpen spot, with candidates Cristhian Martinez and Anthony Varvaro out of minor-league options. But after reliever Jonny Venters left Tuesday’s game against Detroit with a sprained left elbow, another bullpen spot became available for the opening-day roster. Assuming Venters starts the season on the 15-day disabled list, Martinez and Varvaro both could make the team. But manager Fredi Gonzalez said Wirfin Obispo would also be a candidate. Two days after being sent to minor-league camp, Obispo was brought back for Tuesday’s game and pitched one inning with one hit and two strikeouts, giving him five scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. Schafer, too, is out of minor-league options and probably would have been claimed by an outfield-needy team if the Braves had tried to send him down. He and Reed Johnson will be the Braves’ backup outfielders to start the season. Any chance Constanza had of making the team over Schafer probably was diminished when Constanza missed the first month of spring training because of visa issues in the Dominican Republic. Although with Schafer out of options, it’s unclear if it would’ve really mattered.
Jordan Schafer makes Braves’ opening roster
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Mar 27