Southern notes: Terdoslavich restarts

Braves infielder regaining his swing after struggling at Triple-A

By Guy Curtright / Special to | August 13, 2012 9:57 AM ET

The talk of Joey Terdoslavich being the heir apparent to the retiring Chipper Jones at third base in Atlanta is gone. A disastrous first two months of the season with Triple-A Gwinnett took care of that.

But Terdoslavich's stock as a top Braves prospect remains very much intact. The switch-hitter has made sure of that, thanks to an impressive bounce-back performance for Double-A Mississippi after a return to first base.

"We wanted to see if he could restart, and he's done a great job," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. "He's back hitting the ball like he's capable, and he's playing very well."

Putting his struggles in the International League behind him, Terdoslavich is batting .320 with 29 extra-base hits and 41 RBIs in 58 Southern League games.

"I was determined to save my season," the Braves' fifth-ranked prospect said.

Terdoslavich has done that after hitting just .180 and committing 20 errors in 53 games at third base with Gwinnett.

"It was a little bit of a relief," Terdoslavich said of the demotion to Double-A and the return to first base. "It gave me a mental break. I was able to get comfortable again.

Atlanta knew it was asking a lot by having Terdoslavich go directly to Triple-A from Class A Advanced Lynchburg at the same time he was switching to third. But off his performance in the Arizona Fall League and during Spring Training, the Braves took the chance.

Terdoslavich, who had set a Carolina League record with 52 doubles a year ago, quickly found himself in over his head.

"There was a lot to handle and I tried to do too much," the 23-year-old said. "I wasn't playing my game."

"Obviously, he had struggles defensively at third and it may have carried over to his hitting, or his hitting may have carried over to his defense," Wren said. "It's really hard to say. But we needed to get him back to where he had a comfort level."

"Now baseball is fun again," Terdoslavich said.

But the question remains about where to play Atlanta's sixth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State. The Braves rushed him at third base because of Jones' pending retirement, and they appear set for years to come with Freddie Freeman at first base.

"The old adage is, 'If you can hit, a team will find a spot for you,'" Wren said. "He's shown us he can hit. He's a switch-hitter with power. It's our job to work with him and figure out how to best utilize him when he gets up here.

"His best position and where he is the most comfortable is first base, but we've got a first baseman here (Freddie Freeman) who is probably not going anywhere."

Left field could be an eventual landing spot for Terdoslavich, but Wren said the Braves are holding all options open.

"The more versatility, it's going to make it better for him in the long run," the GM said.

"I'm ready to play wherever they want," Terdoslavich said. "I still take ground balls at third base and go to the outfield during batting practice. No one has told me anything about what they think might end up being my primary position."

Faring so poorly in Triple-A could have destroyed a lot of players. Terdoslavich didn't let himself become one of the victims.

"The time at Gwinnett wasn't a waste," he said. "I learned a lot. I had never really failed before. It wasn't easy, but I learned to live with it -- not accept it, but deal with it and move on. It was a tough time, but I think I'll be better for it."

In brief

Century mark: Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour became the first Southern League player to reach 100 RBIs since Tim Giles set the Smokies record with 114 in 1999 when the team was based in Knoxville. Bour hit the century mark with two RBIs on Sunday, and he's driven in 15 runs in 12 games during August. The slugger is hitting .330 since the All-Star Game and has 15 homers and 31 doubles to go with his .300 average for the season. He drove in 85 runs and hit 23 homers last year for Daytona in the Class A Advanced Florida State League.

Streak cut short: Montgomery shortstop Hak-Ju Lee didn't play Sunday against Jackson, leaving his streak of 82 consecutive games two shy of the Biscuits record set by Gabriel Martinez in 2008. Lee left the previous game with pain in his left ribcage, and the injury was believed to be an oblique strain. Lee has set team records this season by hitting in 21 straight games and reaching base safely in 46 in a row. He is Tampa Bay's No. 1 prospect and ranks No. 35 on's Top 100 list.

Extra-base machine: First baseman Hunter Morris' league-leading 37 doubles are three short of the Huntsville record. D.T. Cromer (1997) and Corey Hart (2003) each had 40 doubles for the Stars, and the league record is 47, set in 1998 by Jacksonville teammates Gabe Kapler and Robert Fick. Morris, who also has five triples, is hitting .300 with 23 homers and 93 RBIs. He is ranked as Milwaukee's No. 11 prospect.

Fast start: Montgomery outfielder Mikie Mahtook, No. 78 among Top 100 Prospects, is hitting .299 with eight doubles, four homers and 16 RBIs in 20 games following his promotion from the Florida State League. Mahtook was taken by Tampa Bay out of LSU with the 31st overall pick in the 2011 Draft and is ranked as the Rays' No. 3 prospect. He hit .290 with 19 stolen bases and 27 extra-base hits over 92 games for Charlotte.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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