Flushing, NY: Rafael Ortega hit a single to center in the sixth inning at Citi Field Saturday night that scored the tying run for the Atlanta Braves . The Braves would go on and hand the NY Mets a 9-5 loss, their second straight after a five game winning streak.
The 28-year old Ortega, an outfielder from El Tigre Venezuela, got the start in left field. He reached base a second time on a ball hit to Jeff McNeil in the 8th inning that got past his glove for a two-out single.
These are the division leading Atlanta Braves. They are young, aggressive, and hungry to play deep into October. Ortega, called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on August 13, is also making an impact as one of those young Braves.
“I want to thank God and the opportunity Atlanta has given me,” he said through an interpreter Saturday during pre game drills at Citi Field.
“ Hope to be here rest of season.”
Though the Braves have a potent lineup, and young outfielder, 21-year old Ronald Acuna Jr. there seems to be opportunity for Ortega. He hit a go-ahead grand slam in a win over the Dodgers last week.
And at the time of his selection to the Braves, Ortega was leading the International League in doubles (34) extra base hits (58) and runs with 83. All numbers that showed the potential.
The Braves also have been able to get the players as they continue to sustain injuries to their lineup. Ortega has been a great roster addition, a spot was created when the often injured, though talented Ender Inciarte went down again last week with a right hamstring strain which required another stint on the 10-day injured list.
He has enjoyed the chemistry being around a division leading team. Ortega says the harmony in the Braves’ clubhouse contributes to his patience and desire to have a night as he did Saturday in New York.
“Waiting for opportunity and enjoy it to the max,” he said. “Trying hard and get this team to winning what I’m worried about. I’m happy about, and glad they think highly of me trying to give it all I have with the opportunity.”
Ortega keeps a positive attitude. To him, it does not matter if he is in the starting lineup Sunday afternoon for the series finale or comes off the bench for defensive purposes, or to get a big hit.
“Stay positive no matter what happens,” he said. “I’m always trying to make it with this team to win This team does have everything. I’m here for a reason, and if I am, I’m going to do the best I can.’
He also touched on another important matter, A few days ago, and with unrest with government policies between the United States and Venezuela, Major League Baseball has ceased operations of Winter Ball in that country.
For many that make off-season plans to play ball, Ortega as one, this will have an impact as to making contingency plans.
“Winter ball Venezuela, It’s a tough decision,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I am going to play ball. “
But we do know this, Rafael Ortega is an active player now. He is showing that potential and the Braves are in business with another rising star.
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