ATLANTA -- Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since the All-Star break with a broken right pinkie finger, was cleared Friday night for all baseball activities beginning Saturday by Dr. Gary Lourie. Simmons has been eager to get back on the field since he was injured and said he can now see a light at the end of the tunnel.
"It was a big relief," Simmons said. "I've been getting stalled so much and I was ready to do stuff. I understand why they were trying to be careful. But me being me, I'm ready to go."
Simmons will be examined by Lourie again Sunday, and if he is again cleared, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday. Simmons doesn't yet know where he would rehab, but it would either be with low Class A Rome or high Class A Lynchburg, both of which will be opening the playoffs.
With Simmons out, Paul Janish has taken over as the Braves' starting shortstop. Janish was acquired in a trade with the Reds after Simmons' injury and has played excellent defense in his six weeks in Atlanta.
Simmons said Janish has been great in his absence.
"He's been playing terrific defense," Simmons said. "I've got to make sure I'm at the top of my game when I get back, because it's going to be a tough show to follow."
Moylan returns to Braves, throws perfect inning
ATLANTA -- Walking through the Braves' clubhouse Saturday afternoon, Ben Sheets stopped at right-hander Peter Moylan's locker, still mostly empty save his jerseys and a backpack.
"Look at you in the circle, bro," Sheets said. "Right where you left it."
Almost 11 months to the day after undergoing shoulder surgery, Moylan was back in the Major Leagues. He was one of the Braves' four callups from Triple-A Gwinnett as the rosters expanded Saturday. And he was right back in the inner circle of the Braves' keyhole-shaped clubhouse, not grouped with Sheets and the other more recent arrivals.
In his seven-year career, Moylan has overcome Tommy John surgery and back surgery. But he said this was the most trying comeback.
"It certainly hasn't been smooth sailing," Moylan said. "It wasn't like I got straight into games and got guys out like I used to. It's been a whole new learning process for me."
Moylan has pitched in 21 games at four levels of the Minor Leagues this season. He struck out 21 in 22 2/3 innings but has also allowed 27 hits and walked eight batters.
Moylan said as recently as eight days ago he didn't think he would be back in Atlanta this season. He had signed a Minor League contract in the offseason, knowing his road back from surgery would be a long one. And after an up-and-down series of appearances throughout the Braves' farm system, he was prepared for his season to end when Gwinnett plays its final game Monday in Norfolk, Va.
But Wednesday, Moylan said the Braves told him he would be among their first group of September callups. It was an emotional moment for the 33-year-old.
"I was almost in tears to be honest," he said. "I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't sitting there hoping I was going to be called up in September. I thought my season was over. I was going to go to Norfolk, pitch in a couple more games and go home."
Instead, he is back in the Braves' bullpen. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he will use Moylan primarily in situations where his sinker can be most effective.
"We'll use him to get ground balls, because that's what he does," Gonzalez said.
Moylan quickly made his first appearance since last September in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Phillies. He threw a perfect eighth inning, retiring all three batters he faced on ground balls. Moylan threw nine pitches and said he had to work to contain his excitement on the mound.
"It was an amazing feeling," Moylan said. "I know I've put in some hard yards over the last few months to come back. For [general manager] Frank [Wren] and assistant general manager] Bruce [Manno] and the rest of the guys to put the faith in me to come back up and do it again, it means a lot."
Braves add Overbay, four others to roster
ATLANTA -- With rosters around the Major Leagues expanding to 40 on Saturday, the Braves added five players to their roster.
The Braves called up right-hander Peter Moylan, first baseman Lyle Overbay, outfielder Jose Constanza and catcher J.C. Boscan from Triple-A Gwinnett. They also added utility player Jeff Baker, who was acquired in a trade with the Tigers on Friday night.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he's happy to have more options at his disposal.
"You can mix and match, and the matchups we have, use them to our advantage," Gonzalez said. "It's good to have [guys] on the bench."
Perhaps most prominent of Saturday's callups was Overbay, who signed a Minor League contract with the Braves on Aug. 20 with the intention of joining the team Saturday. Overbay hit .292 with a .367 on-base percentage for the D-backs before being released last month.
Overbay said he's excited to join a team in the playoff race.
"It's a chance to win, and those are opportunities that don't come very often," Overbay said. "This was probably my best opportunity to get to the playoffs so it made my decision easy."
Overbay's only playoff experience came last year with the D-backs. Before that, the 35-year-old veteran had played for teams not in contention in his 12-year career.
To make room for Moylan, Overbay and Baker on the 40-man roster, the Braves transferred left-hander Robert Fish to the 60-day disabled list. Fish, who was the Braves' selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, has been out all season with elbow tendinitis.
Chipper Jones said his collision at the plate with Phillies catcher Erik Kratz in the fourth inning of the Braves' 8-5 loss Friday night was the hardest of his career. "I hit [Mike] Piazza a couple times, but nothing like that," Jones said.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.