With 10 home runs in his first 37 major league games, Evan Gattis has been one of the season's big surprises. The 26-year-old rookie filled in admirably for Brian McCann while the latter missed the Braves' first 30 games due to a slow comeback from shoulder surgery, and he has continued to produce in a bench role. He's homered three times in the last four games, twice as a pinch-hitter. Wednesday's homer came as a starting catcher; swinging on a 3-0 pitch, his grand slam off the Twins' Vance Worley broke the game open:
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Gattis is now hitting .256/.308/.587, making up for his lack of plate discipline (a 32/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio) with tremendous power. As noted previously, the 26-year-old Texan took a roundabout route to the majors, graduating high school in 2004 but taking time off to deal with personal issues and bouncing around the country as a cook, a valet and a ski-lift operator before being drafted by the Braves in 2010.
Or so we've been told. As it turns out, there's more to "The Legend of El Oso Blanco."
That clip was put together by Rob Jenners, a production director at 680 The Fan, the Braves' flagship radio station. In the tradition of Chuck Norris and Matt Wieters, some fanciful facts have been used to craft his legend:
"Raised by wolverines in the mountains of Tibet… in fear of dethroning the game's greatest players, he was hesitant to play professionally... One time in the middle of a game, he ran off the field to thwart an international hostage crisis… he then returned two innings later and hit a walk-off three-run shot to win the game, the kind of thing Yunel Escobar would never have done…" Whether or not you're a Braves fan, the three-minute clip should bring a few chuckles.