McLouth's present: DL; his future: questionable

The Sports Xchange

As if the Braves brass weren't already scrambling to make a trade for a bat in the outfield ...

Friday, center fielder Nate McLouth went on the 15-day disabled list with a lower abdominal strain, courtesy of slipping while making a throw after a flyout.

McLouth's throw missed the cut-off man, which is how it has been going for him lately. He misplayed a throw in the second inning of Monday's game versus the Pirates; he threw to the wrong base, allowing a runner to advance to third and, eventually, score.

"We talked about it in the dugout," manager Fredi Gonzalez said at the time. "It's a situation (where) he knows better."

In Tuesday's 19-inning extravaganza versus the Pirates, with yeoman efforts being given by every player on both teams, McLouth got himself ejected in the top of the ninth for arguing with home plate umpire Jerry Meals when he struck out swinging.

The next day, Gonzalez declined two opportunities to say that McLouth should have known better about that, too, citing competitive fire, heat of the moment, etc.

Center fielder Jordan Schafer, called up from Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of May when McLouth was out with a left oblique strain, had already supplanted McLouth in center. McLouth had shifted to left field while infielder-outfielder Martin Prado was out with a staph infection in his right calf.

Then Schafer had to be put on the DL because of a chip fracture in his left middle finger; he couldn't grip a bat. McLouth's weak arm looked a lot weaker in comparison.

Now, outfielder Jose Constanza has been called up from Gwinnett to plug the center field hole. Leading off in his major league debut, Friday's 5-0 win over the Marlins, he drove in a run with his first major league hit and then scored a run in the eighth.

It isn't likely that McLouth will be traded by Sunday's non-waiver deadline, given that he's injured. But one wonders, given his recent lapses, how long he will be with the team.

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