Atlanta Braves: Benching Omar Infante for Troy Glaus a Foolish Move
The Atlanta Braves should think twice before they make a move that will weaken their chances at winning a second World Series title.
While nothing has happened yet, the stars are certainly aligned for Mr. May, Troy Glaus, to replace All-Star Omar Infante in the lineup at third base, which would bump Martin Prado back to second base.
Since Atlanta acquired first baseman Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs, Glaus has rested his ailing knees and returned to play three games for the Gwinnett Braves at the hot corner this week.
During those three games, May's NL Player of the Month has been raking at the plate, racking up two home runs, seven RBI's, and five hits in 10 at-bats at the Triple-A level.
However, while those numbers and Glaus' improving health may impress GM Frank Wren and manager Bobby Cox enough for them to make him the starting third baseman in place of the injured Chipper Jones, it's a bad move.
And I'm not saying that merely based on his .174 batting average and two home runs over the last 46 games.
Glaus should not re-enter the daily lineup because Atlanta cannot afford to take super utility man Omar Infante out of the daily lineup.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Infante has a .381 batting average in 27 consecutive starts and has shown some uncharacteristic power recently, hitting five home runs in his last 17 games.
Additionally, Infante has been consistently good in 2010, unlike Glaus, posting a .365 batting average in 65 games since June 1, which would put him in contention for the batting title if he had enough at-bats to be eligible.
Defensively, Infante has been solid, committing only 12 errors despite lining up at five different positions for the 2010 Braves.
Most importantly, Infante has committed only four errors in 99 chances at second base, his current position, this season.
As for Glaus' fielding skills, both he and Prado have the same career fielding percentage at third base (.952), but you would have to think that the younger Prado would be more mobile and agile than Glaus and his ailing knees.
Granted, the Braves' bench is significantly weaker without Infante and losing the reliable guy who can play almost anywhere should a starter go down with an injury hurts the bench.
However, Atlanta's subs are still strong, boasting the likes of Melky Cabrera, Eric Hinske, David Ross, and the team's best clutch hitter in Brooks Conrad.
In addition to those guys, Glaus would provide a power bat off the bench and could serve as the designated hitter should the Braves advance to the World Series.
As far as the rest of the season is concerned, Atlanta hopes that Glaus will once again prove his doubters wrong by playing good defense at third base and being a key bat in the Braves' lineup down the stretch in September and potentially October.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, hope should be a last resort in a pennant race.
If the Braves want to hold off the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East race, they need to go with the best guys they have—a strategy that finds Omar Infante in the everyday lineup and Troy Glaus on the bench.
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