The Braves are counting on utility infielders Johan Camargo and Charlie Culberson. Tuesday gave a glimpse of how important they could prove to be.
The duo provided the Braves’ only offense: Culberson knocked a two-RBI double and Camargo homered, leading to an otherwise uneventful 3-3 tie with the Pirates at Champion Stadium.
With his parents on hand, Culberson delivered a fourth inning double to left that scored Kurt Suzuki and Jaff Decker to tie the game at two. He has two hits in six at-bats, having tripled in his spring debut against the Mets on Feb. 23.
The longtime National League West inhabitant has impressed Braves coaches with not only his oft-credited versatility, but his demeanor.
“Just a real versatile, solid player,” manager Brian Snitker said. “And he hits lefties pretty good. He’s going to be a nice piece for us, the versatility. … I like the way he goes about it, one of those pro guys. He knows how to prepare, how to go about it. Real steady.”
The Braves intend to use Culberson more in the outfield later in spring training, in case he’s needed there during the season. He’s played 29 games in the outfield, with 27 of those coming with Colorado in 2013.
As for Camargo, he flashed the same growing power he teased in the Dominican Winter League with a towering shot to right in the seventh.
“The kid just keeps getting better, getting bigger, stronger, more mature,” Snitker said. “I really, really like that young man.”
The team’s maintained that playing time is up for grabs. That includes Camargo, who’s competing for the starting third base job, and Culberson, who at 28-years-old and on his fourth team, has never found his niche with an organization.
“There are opportunities here,” Snitker said. “That whole group doesn’t have a long history. They’re not veterans that are coming in to get in shape the first week of spring training. They’re coming in and competing. … It’s good to see.”