ATLANTA -- While the Braves are exploring the possibility of adding a right-handed reliever before Sunday's Trade Deadline passes, they have also set up the possibility that highly regarded pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino could be a part of their Major League bullpen before this season expires.
Vizcaino was promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday and will spend the next couple weeks attempting to prove he can be productive and handle the rigors of serving as a reliever. The 20-year-old right-hander served as a starter before the organization moved him to Double-A Mississippi's bullpen last week.
As Vizcaino gets familiar with a relief role, the Braves plan to see how he reacts to things like pitching on back-to-back days.
Blessed with a high-powered fastball and good curveball, which has improved as he has created more consistency with his arm speed, Vizcaino has combined for 92 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .222 batting average in 90 innings with Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi this year.
Chipper nursing strained quadriceps
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones' return to the Braves' starting lineup was short-lived.
The third baseman, who missed 12 games due to arthroscopic knee surgery, was once again out of the lineup during a 4-3, 19-inning win on Tuesday with a strained right quadriceps, though he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Jones started Monday's game against the Pirates -- his first since July 8 -- but left when soreness in his quad proved too difficult to play through.
"I feel more frustration than anything," Jones said. "I'm tired of talking about things that are keeping me out of ballgames. It's getting old. But there's nothing I can do about it."
Jones had told manager Fredi Gonzalez prior to his final at-bat in the eighth inning on Monday that he would need a baserunner should he reach. But that wasn't necessary, as he hit his 10th homer of the season into the right-field stands.
"I'm sitting there on the bench, and I could feel a huge knot in my thigh," he said. "It was hard. I could feel it even through my uniform. The more I sat and was idle, the worse and worse it got."
Jones said that when he was iced down following the game, he saw significant swelling in a six-inch area on his thigh.
"What you try and do is try to massage it, rub it out," he said. "[I'm] trying to get it to flatten out and get it back to normal as much as possible. It's obviously very sore today."
The area had been tight earlier in the game but intensified on a sixth-inning at-bat by Neil Walker. The Braves had called for a pitchout, but when Garrett Jones attempted to steal second, Walker reached out over the plate and was able to put the ball in play -- toward Jones.
"I saw the pitchout sign. You definitely don't expect a pitchout to be put in play, so I was caught on my heels a little bit," Jones said. "It was a little tight before then, but that was the topper. ... It was just something that, as we went on, just kind of tightened up and tightened up. That kind of put it over the top."
Jones will serve as a pinch-hitter for a few days until he feels like the quad is manageable.
"Just got to play it by ear," he said. "Keep doing all my exercises, try to strengthen everything in and around that knee. Hopefully, it will allow me to get back in there in a couple of days."
Finger injury could land Schafer on DL
ATLANTA -- Jordan Schafer convinced the Braves that he did not need to go on the disabled list on Monday. After participating in Tuesday's batting practice at Turner Field, the Braves' center fielder was having a hard time convincing himself that he might not need a couple weeks to rest his left middle finger.
"It doesn't feel good," Schafer said. "I've tried to play through injuries before, and I don't want to make that same mistake. I don't want to go out and us be playing with eight players. So I think it's better that I get healthy."
Still, the Braves opted to insert Schafer in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 4-3, 19-inning win over the Pirates. He played through the discomfort and managed to record a key single in the final frame that helped seal the victory.
Even after the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said there was a possibility Schafer could be placed on the disabled list. But for now, it seems like the club is hoping he'll gain some relief. The 24-year-old center fielder has missed six straight starts because of a chip fracture he suffered sliding headfirst toward second base during Wednesday's loss to the Rockies.
Before Schafer took swings under the watchful eye of Dr. Gary Lourie on Monday afternoon, the Braves were prepared to place him on the disabled list. They opted not to make the transaction once he revealed that he was able to complete his swings and make throws in a relatively pain-free manner.
Schafer believes those swings might have aggravated his finger and led him to experience the discomfort that was present Tuesday.
"I hadn't swung in five days," Schafer said. "After I went and swung, it felt fine. I just think the effects of swinging made it that much worse today."
While Schafer is out of the lineup, Nate McLouth will likely serve as the starting center fielder. McLouth was also batting leadoff Tuesday night, marking the first time he was in that spot since he strained his left oblique muscle on May 22.
Braves reliever Peter Moylan will begin throwing off the mound this Sunday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Moylan -- who had back surgery on May 17 -- will travel with the club on its next road trip, where he could throw three or four bullpen sessions. When the Braves return home on Aug. 12, he could begin throwing batting practice.
Alex Gonzalez was supposed to receive a day off on Tuesday, as Julio Lugo started in his place, but Gonzalez was forced into action in the 10th inning of a 4-3, 19-inning victory, going 0-for-5.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez wanted to give his shortstop a day off during this 20-game stretch and said that it had nothing to do with his recent offensive struggles. Gonzalez is 4-for-42 with two outs and runners in scoring position this season and left six runners on base on Monday night, including striking out with the bases loaded. He stranded another runner on Tuesday.
"He's streaky. But, really, what he gives us offensively, for me, watching him for a lot of years, is a plus," Fredi Gonzalez said. "Whatever those numbers are offensively, you can add another 50 points to the batting average, another 25 RBIs by what he stops defensively."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.