LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tim Hudson expects to be throwing his first batting-practice session within the next week.
The Braves right-hander has completed two pain-free bullpen sessions since being cleared to begin throwing off the mound again on Tuesday.
"It feels like I'm throwing about 80 [mph], but they said that it's coming out normal," Hudson said.
Hudson will continue to pace himself as he makes up for the time he lost while recovering from back surgery. The 36-year-old will likely complete two more bullpen sessions before throwing the first of at least three batting-practice sessions.
If Hudson passes theses tests with no setbacks, there is a chance he could pitch an inning or two in a game before the end of Spring Training. He will likely need to make at least five starts before he is deemed ready to pitch in the regular season.
Hudson said he will make at least one start that consists of six innings and at least 100 pitches before coming off the disabled list.
Pastornicky helps Braves beat his former club
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Maybe it was the opportunity to compete against his former Blue Jays teammates. Or maybe it was simply a matter of time.
Whatever the case, Tyler Pastornicky helped the Braves claim a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays at Champion Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The 22-year-old shortstop had three productive plate appearances and made a sensational diving stop of a sharp third-inning grounder.
"It's definitely something that takes getting used to," Pastornicky said. "When you come in with some pressure on you, you've got to learn how to cope with it and learn how to play your game. You can't go out there and just be in a blur."
Targeted to begin the year as Atlanta's starting shortstop, Pastornicky came to Spring Training without any Major League experience. The nerves seemed to get the best of him as he recorded just four hits in the 33 at-bats he had compiled entering Saturday.
Meanwhile, highly regarded shortstop prospect Andrelton Simmons spent the past couple weeks dazzling with the glove. That's created reason to wonder if the Braves would be better served to rush him to the Majors to take the starting gig at the position.
"You've got to go out there and play hard," Pastornicky said. "Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I'm just going to try to control what I can, and that is to go out there play hard and give it my all."
The Braves would certainly be more comfortable sticking with their initial plan if Pastornicky continues to play like he did on Saturday. He hit the ball to the right side to advance Michael Bourn in the first inning, produced a sacrifice fly in the third inning and drove home another run with a seventh-inning RBI single.
"It looked like today he was a little more relaxed and a little more into the flow of the game," Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca said. "He had a good game."
Beachy harnesses control in impressive start
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy had to wonder if he was destined for more trouble after he walked the second batter he faced in the Braves' 5-3 split-squad win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. He had issued five walks in a three-inning stint just five days earlier.
But proving much more aggressive in the strike zone than he had in his previous two starts, Beachy quickly righted himself by following the walk with one of his six strikeouts over four innings. The first-inning walk was the only one he issued during this impressive effort.
"I had been letting things get away from me the last couple of games and at times last year," Beachy said. "It's going to happen. I don't like walking a guy on four pitches after throwing three pitches right where I wanted, but that's going to happen. I was able to bounce back quickly ... I never let the control leave me. I felt like I was commanding things from the get-go. "
Beachy will approach his final three starts of the Grapefruit League season aiming for more consistency than he showed during his first three starts. But the 25-year-old had reason to be satisfied with his work Saturday, when he limited the Blue Jays to just one run.
"I'd like to throw anything I've got wherever I want at this point," Beachy said. "I'm definitely moving in the right direction. There is still a lot of work to be done before Opening Day, and I plan on doing it."
Fredi pleased by Braves' split performances
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Few of the positive developments during the course of a Spring Training matter all that much. Poor performance hurts more than good performance helps in these games. But improvement certainly can brighten the mood of a manager. So it was here Saturday for Fredi Gonzalez, the Braves manager who had endured 10 losses in his team's first 11 Spring Training games.
With the victories they produced in split squad games against the Mets and Blue Jays on Saturday, the Braves now have won four of five games. No big thing, not really. But Gonzalez got a little giddy following the 3-2 victory against the Mets he had witnessed when a Braves employee reported to him what had happened in Lake Buena Vista during a 5-3 win over Toronto.
"I think we're back in the hunt in the Grapefruit League," Gonzalez said, facetiousness dripping from his words like juice from squashed citrus fruit. "I think they started counting us out, but we're still in it."
Indeed, the Braves no longer are tied with the Mets for the fewest victories among National League East teams, even if they have the most losses in the league. More importantly, the Braves have seen occasional signs of increased preparedness in recent days. Jason Heyward's bat is making contact and noise; Martin Prado's, too. Tommy Hanson is pitching. And Kris Medlen contributed to the good news Saturday, pitching four scoreless innings against the Mets. He allowed one hit and one walk and struck out four against what passed for a big league lineup in March.
Gonzalez described Medlen as the potential "just-in-case swing guy who can give you two, three innings or start if something [bad] happens. He's a nice wild card to have."
Medlen faced 13 batters and threw 10 first-pitch strikes Saturday. He held the two runners he allowed. He got a sacrifice bunt down. He worked fast. He commanded all of his pitches, the fastball, curve and changeup.
"He did everything right," Gonzalez said.
Pass the grapefruit.
Dan Uggla's two-run, sixth-inning homer against the Blue Jays on Saturday was his third in a span of eight at-bats and fourth during the Grapefruit League season. "He's laid off some pitches down and forced them to come to him," Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca said.
Jason Heyward recorded a pair of singles in Saturday's 3-2 split-squad win over the Mets. Heyward was in an 0-for-12 skid before registering multihit performances in two of his past three games.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin strengthened his bid to land an Opening Day roster spot by retiring three left-handed hitters in a perfect seventh inning against the Blue Jays on Saturday. Gearrin's weakness has been lefty hitters, but the sidearm reliever may have solved this problem by becoming more comfortable with his changeup over the past couple of weeks.