Bethancourt’s mistakes behind plate lead to two San Diego runs

Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt struggled defensively Thursday with a passed ball and catcher’s interference that accounted for two of San Diego’s runs. (AP photo)

Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt struggled defensively Thursday with a passed ball and catcher's interference that accounted for two of San Diego's runs. (AP photo)

Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt struggled defensively Thursday with a passed ball and catcher’s interference that accounted for two of San Diego’s runs. (AP photo)

This shouldn’t be taken as a suggestion that one of the Braves’ most touted prospects is going to be a bust. But should the Braves be worried about Christian Bethancourt?

It’s one thing for Bethancourt to be struggling offensively in his first full season (.206 batting average, which actually went up 10 points after getting two hits Thursday against San Diego). But the Braves’ lost to the Padres 6-4 in 11 innings as much because of Bethancourt’s poor play at catcher as another bullpen collapse or Julio Teheran’s bad eighth inning.

A passed ball by Bethancourt with the bases loaded allowed San Diego to score its first of three runs in the eighth inning and narrow the Braves’ lead to 4-2. Bethancourt now has four passed balls in only 26 games this season.

“It’s my job to catch the ball and I didn’t. The ball got by, they scored the run and I have nothing to blame it on … just me,” he said.

Later in the inning, with the bases still loaded and the score 4-3, Bethancourt was called for catcher’s interference when the Padres’ Cory Spangenberg swung the bat and it tipped Bethancourt’s glove. Spangenberg was awarded first base and Yonder Alonso came home from third to tie the game 4-4.

“I could hear it in the dugout — I don’t think it was any question .. it was catcher’s interference,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Bethancourt’s impending arrival convinced the Braves to deal Evan Gattis in the winter and, to some degree, played a role in not making an aggressive offer to keep Brian McCann in free agency two years ago. The Braves have enough other holes on this team. They can’t afford to have their young catcher giving games away.

MORE ON MyAJC: To read about Julio Teheran’s start and another bullpen collapse, click here.

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Reader Comments 0

40 comments
Iknownussing
Iknownussing

Anybody know the latest on Bethancourt?  Any progress on reducing the size of his cap and oh yea, his catching skills and work ethic??

Wilbo
Wilbo

At least the guy is better than the Boston shortstop. My mom could have gotten to a couple of those balls that brought in Atlanta runs and she's been dead since 1990

SeanLB
SeanLB

I love how everyone says "Trade him".  Just like you wanted to trade Uggla?


Look, we aren't the only ones that know he can't field and can't hit.  How dumb do you think other teams are?  

BradleyBreeze
BradleyBreeze

I was never excited about this guy.He never has hit worth a crap and now he is costing the team runs..........sounds like previous situations with Uggla and Big Joke Melvin Upton........he would be cut loose if he were not making the minimun.I am glad Hart doesn't have a problem cutting out the "Dead Wood" on this team!

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

@BradleyBreeze Right? It's unfortunate that some players get tagged with "can't miss" and management just won't let go. His stats in the minors have been mediocre at best and the passed balls have clearly been overlooked. How is that great fielding? I don't care how good his arm is if at this age he can't block balls in the dirt. How could the Braves rely on this guy to take over 2/3 of the catching duties at the major league level with only a few ABs in the majors ? Frankly even if he was ready on a fielding level only, I've never been enamored with guys who field great but can't hit. There's no way that anyone in this organization could have taken this guy seriously on a hitting level. He would have to be Ivan Rodriguez x 2 to continue being the Braves catcher while batting .200.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Eeenie, meanie, miny moe?


I see here where some folks are wishing tThe Ghost of Ted Turner would come back and salvage the fortunes of the Atlanta Braves.


Getting to shake Ted Turners hand and congratulate him on the 1995 World Series win was one of the biggest thrills of my time in Atlanta. It almost made me think about forgiving him for bringing that addled hora Jane Fonda to Atlanta.


So, yeah, Ted had more burning desire to win than all the rest of Atlanta pro sports owners combined, and he certainly did more for the city's image & self image than that Little Lord Fauntleroy comic book character dweeb who now owns the Falcons, but it took him way, way, way too long to understand that he needed to put professional baseball people in charge of the Braves and stop thinking he could benefit the team making snap personnel decisions based on his extremely limited baseball knowledge.


Don't forget that Ted let that stupid woman convince him that focusing on winning was crude and insensitive and demeaning to those little people who don't get their share of trophies, and that the chop was bad and racist. Now, seriously, would a great owner drop his dream of championships to go raise bison because he hooked up w some ditzy commie blonde who was hot in the sack? A man who could've had any woman (or combo of women) anywhere anytime under any circumstances he wanted....


Before you start making Ted Turner the Absolute Hero of owners, just remember he did some really stupid stuff, too. Bringing in Bruce Sutter when he was worn out broke down and useless to the Braves anyway, letting Brett Butler go to the Dodgers, tying up years & $ on Bruce Benedict. And I'm not sure, but wasn't it Turner's idea to give Jon Koncak the big money? I remember one night that dude scored 7 points and it was like an incredible offensive explosion for him!!!!!

Wilbo
Wilbo

Thanks, @Nashville Jeff! You are correct, sir. My bad. 


That makes it even worse. They dumped one of our best ever leadoff hitter for useless sore-armed ninny Len Barker!


No offense, of course, to Otis and my favorite Brave of all times - Deion!

JackClemens
JackClemens

See if you can trade him straight up for Gattis.

Redfin
Redfin

If Bethancourt is the best catcher in the org,...........that only says that the org has no catching prospects.  How stupid was it to send Gaddis packing when he could have stayed a couple of years for damn near no money.   Now you have a man behind the plate that can't hit his own weight and can't catch either.

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

CB is the best catcher in the organization? He is showing no more this year than last year when he played. With all the prospects the Braves got through trades and the draft, not one of the brain trust thought to get another catcher? Amazing!

Buckhead Vol
Buckhead Vol

another stellar day (so far) for behancourt.  swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and a nice passed ball.


Buckhead Vol
Buckhead Vol

I agree w/ Schultzie.  I was excited about this guy arrival's.  I thought it would be okay to have a sub par offensive guy, but excellent defensive catcher.  The guy has shown me nothing behind the plate.  I wonder what the pitchers think?  


Very bizarre....

HotDawg
HotDawg

Trade the bum, while other teams still think he has value.

TexGT
TexGT

@HotDawg Trade the "bum"?  Really, the kid is a "bum" because he is struggling?  You need to get your priorities straight.

Kynik
Kynik

Frankly, I'm not sure why the Braves organization has been so high on the kid; it's not like he was tearing it up in the minors the way Andruw Jones did back in the day. Most of Bethancourt's minor-league CV suggests that his ceiling is "decent major-league backup catcher."

Beau1500
Beau1500

@Kynik I agree completely.  It appears that somebody in the organization is in his corner and has been touting him for years and I frankly don't get it.  Bethancourt is the catcher of the future and always will be.  Get rid of him.    206??????  BA - please.........

Big Wally
Big Wally

Can't hit, can't field, yep he is the Braves' future at catcher.

ComaToes
ComaToes

Is that rumor true?  Is he engaged to a girl named Beth Ann Court?  I think someone is pulling my leg.  If so and they got married she would be Beth Ann Court Bethancourt right?

odelljones
odelljones

In regards to discussion this I turn to the keeper of the villages...

"What difference at this point does it make?" - HC

translation: why discuss the incompetence of the decisions or decision makers, its in the past....

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

I'd trade him for a proven left hand reliever.

VeryDisgusted
VeryDisgusted

Another overhyped prospect -- its not the first and won't be the last


Bethancourt is on the level of Brad Kommisk and Mike Kelly

RangeRover
RangeRover

This team ins't good enough to throw away games but it's a manager's job to address this...and we have the consummate ding-dong in Gonzalez.

Mutley
Mutley

Ted Turner, Help, Help, the only owner LOSERVILLE has ever had that gave a damn. Either Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The Way.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Patriotdog, I completely agree...I was a catcher all my life and my dad caught for the Cards back in the 60s.  He said the same thing, no hustle all show behind the plate.  Thank God for AJ, Christian better start watching how he plays the game...just sit his a__ and play AJ till the wheels fall off.


And rayfromga...you are an idiot sir.

Jetiredo
Jetiredo

I still believe in bethancourte but I'm the only one

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

Boy, all the hype on Bethancourt was nothing but a big lie.  He can't hit, can't catch, cant throw out a runner...he's useless.  At least AJ can hit, though his defensive skills aren't much better.

DirtyBirdLover71
DirtyBirdLover71

I say TRADE him-DEFENSIVE SKILLS AT CATCHER is supposed to be his forte and he can't even do that.I don't care how young he is-get what you can for him and move on from him!

patriotdog
patriotdog

The kid has lazy feet. Doesn't move well to block balls, instead tries to backhand them and it isn't working. He's only 23, so he's got time but on the other hand lazy doesn't get better with age. Says here he will be a smaller, less powerful version of the last 'great young catcher' the Braves had. Remember Jarrod Saltalamacchia?

rayfromga
rayfromga

Play the young kid.  AJ can't hit, throw, or field. 

Beau1500
Beau1500

@rayfromga Let's see....  AJ is hitting 283 with 4 homers and 21 RBI's.  Bet is hitting 206 with 1 home run and 9 RBI's.  What games have you been watching?