Gattis Takes Winding Path To Braves

ATLANTA—To say that Evan Gattis came out of nowhere in 2011 is correct. However, it might be more accurate to say he arrived after being everywhere, only most of those places did not include playing baseball.

The catcher's journey began at Texas A&M, then Seminole State (Okla.) JC, where he got injured and soured on the game. From there, he proceeded to work a variety of odd jobs while moving about the country, living in places like Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and San Francisco.

"I was away from baseball for about four years," Gattis said. "During that time, I did a lot of things I always wanted to do . . . I think I got a better perspective on life during that time."

Just prior to the start of the 2009-10 school year, Gattis was talking with a step-brother, Drew Kendrick, who was playing at Division II Texas-Permian Basin and persuaded Gattis to join him. In his lone season at the school, Gattis batted .403 with 12 home runs in 57 games and wound up getting drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round in 2010.

"From out of nowhere, I was motivated to give the game everything I had," Gattis said. "I wound up having a good season and was drafted by the Braves, and now I thank God every day for the opportunity I've been given."

After opening the 2011 season in extended spring training, Gattis joined low Class A Rome in early May and worked his way into the starting lineup during his first month with the club. He found his groove in the second half and wound up falling four at-bats shy of winning the South Atlantic League batting title with a .322/.386/.601 line while ranking fourth in the organization with 22 home runs and fifth with 71 RBIs.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Gattis celebrated his 25th birthday on Aug. 18 and knows he must continue to produce in order to make up for lost time. So far, he has been able to do that with his power performance at the plate and his improving skills behind it.

Wigwam Wisps

• The Braves received lefthanded reliever Chris Jones from the Indians for Derek Lowe. A 15th-round pick out of a Tampa high school in 2007, Jones has been effective at the Class A level over the past two seasons, including a 7-1, 3.36 showing in 2011 at high Class A Kinston.

• Joey Terdoslavich had eight multi-hit games in his first 13 outings in the Arizona Fall League, including an 11-for-22 start in his first five outings. Terdoslavich has played mostly at first base but could see some time time at third base.