Tyler Pastornicky began last season as the Braves' starting shortstop. Now his future in Atlanta appears clouded at best.
The Braves no longer view Pastornicky, who turned 23 in December, as even an adequate backup at shortstop. He is likely to spend 2013 at Class AAA Gwinnett, shuttling between second base and the outfield.
Pastornicky's diminished standing was shown when the Braves signed utility man Ramiro Pena as infield insurance.
Pena, 27, spent parts of four seasons with the New York Yankees, and he can back up Andrelton Simmons at shortstop while also filling in at other positions.
The Braves felt that they needed some cover at shortstop because Paul Janish is unlikely to be ready to start the seasons after undergoing labrum surgery on his left shoulder in October.
Simmons, 23, was promoted from Class AA Mississippi last June to take over for Pastornicky, and he dazzled until breaking his left hand. When he went down, the Braves acquired Janish from the Cincinnati Reds, and Pastornicky became an afterthought.
Pastornicky showed last year that he is better suited for second base than shortstop, and he also started working in the outfield late in the season.
The Florida native has speed, and he has hit well in the minors, but his main value now may be as a trade chip. He was acquired by the Braves from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 as part of the Yunel Escobar trade.
Pastornicky spent a little while in the Dominican winter league during October, going 6-for-24 (.250). He hit .243 in 78 game for Atlanta in 2012 and .268 in 38 games with Gwinnett.