Shortstop Paul Janish has committed only one error since joining the Braves. That kind of glove work was expected. “He’s a proven defensive talent, and we felt like, for our club, that was the most important aspect of the acquisition,” general manager Frank Wren said the night he made the trade.
His ability to catch and throw and his quickness in beginning double plays has been a big factor in allowing the starting pitchers to throw fewer pitches and go deeper into games. Whether he could do anything on offense was never mentioned, except for how it wasn’t expected. “We didn’t bring him in for him to win the batting title,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. And he’s continued to say it. But Janish has gotten a couple of key hits and has earned key walks, as he did Wednesday against the Phillies, allowing right-hander Tim Hudson to come to the plate; he doubled in two runs.
Janish singled in his first at-bat in Sunday night’s 6-5 loss to the Mets, allowing right-hander Ben Sheets to come to the plate, turning over the lineup. And he drew a two-out walk to keep things going in the four-run ninth as the Braves almost pulled out a win. His most impressive play in the field has been to avoid the splintered end of a broken bat that got to him at the same time as the ball in Friday’s game against the Mets. His clean throw to first with a runner on third ended the inning, preserving left-hander Paul Maholm’s shutout.
The Braves could have been in big trouble when rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons was lost with a broken right little finger; he’s expected to be out until the beginning of September. Instead, Janish, acquired from the Reds the day after Simmons went on the disabled list, has buoyed the team with his smoothness in the field.