Braves option Castro to Triple-A, recall Perez

Braves option Castro to Triple-A, recall Perez

ATLANTA -- Just a day after Daniel Castro got his first taste of the big leagues -- which included his first MLB hit in a pinch-hit at-bat -- the Braves optioned the infielder back to Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday and recalled outfielder Eury Perez from Gwinnett.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

This move comes as Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons returned to the starting lineup Thursday, after missing a pair of starts due to a sore right hand. Castro was called up for infield depth in the wake of Simmons' injury.

"We needed an outfielder," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "With Simmons coming back we have [Pedro] Ciriaco who can be the utility infielder, you got Kelly Johnson, Chris Johnson, and so we needed another outfielder to help us out there.

"I'm expecting a solid baseball player [in Perez]. He's had a nice little season in Triple-A."

In 60 games this season with Triple-A Gwinnett, Perez has hit .296 with a .746 OPS and 28 steals in 36 attempts. With Todd Cunningham having been optioned to Gwinnett earlier this week, Perez will provide the Braves with outfield depth and a decent pinch-running option off of the bench.

Perez told reporters through a translator before batting practice Thursday that he was surprised initially by the callup, but at the same time he was expecting it because of the work he has put in this season.

Perez said that his success at the plate this season has come from focusing on swinging at strikes. He was also glad to be thrown immediately into the starting lineup -- Perez hit eighth and played left field.

"[Starting] helps out a lot," Perez said. "I'm not on the bench, not thinking about it and usually that's when the nerves kind of kick in."

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.