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Braves' Evan Gettis goes from cleaning up to cleanup hitter

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,MLB,John Keim

He's part Josh Hamilton and part Matt Damon from "Good Will Hunting." Evan Gattis also is a reason the Atlanta Braves have baseball's best record after two weeks.

After the Braves' sweep of the Nationals this weekend, the 26-year-old Gattis is batting .324 with four homers and 10 RBI. This is the guy the Braves were hoping could help a little while starting catcher Brian McCann was sidelined for several weeks after shoulder surgery. It's safe to say Gattis will stick in the lineup somewhere after this start.

Gattis, who once had a scholarship offer from Texas A&M, had his life take an unfortunate turn after high school. He reportedly mixed marijuana with alcohol to try to overcome depression. From there he became a janitor, a ski lift operator and a cook. In 2010, he decided to try baseball once more.

And in his MLB debut two weeks ago, he homered off former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay -- while Gattis' dad was being interviewed on TV at the game.

In between his return and eventually his debut, Gattis played with his brother at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He also earned the nickname of "El Oso Blanco" (translation: "The White Bear") after hitting 16 homers in 195 at-bats last winter in the Venezuelan league.

By the way, the Braves signed him for $1,000 after drafting him in the 23rd round in 2010. They've gotten their money's worth.

All that's left now is the movie.

- John Keim

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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