Tyler Pastornicky points to one at-bat this spring when it all started to click.
On March 20, the Braves were playing the Tigers. On the mound: Reigning American League Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander.
Pastornicky, a rookie embroiled in a battle with fellow rookie Andrelton Simmons for the Braves starting shortstop job, had struggled for the first two weeks of spring training. He had been anointed as the starter before the team reported to Florida, but Pastornicky was beginning to play his way out of the job.
It was looking like he might lose out to Simmons, meaning Pastornicky would start the season in the minors.
So, he walked to the plate in the third inning that day, wondering if he could turn it around. Pastornicky knew it wouldnt be easy against Verlander, but he promptly singled to right, a hit that sent his confidence and comfort level escalating.
He singled again the next day, and a day after that, Pastornicky went 4-for-5, sending a signal to the Braves tha...