ATLANTA -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez remains optimistic that Brian McCann will prove to be healthy and productive over the next couple of weeks. But if McCann continues to struggle, Gonzalez is prepared to play backup catcher David Ross on a more frequent basis.

The veteran McCann has been bothered for most of the season with discomfort in his right shoulder caused by a cyst.

McCann received a cortisone shot after Saturday night's loss to the Phillies, then missed each of the next three days. He returned to the lineup on Wednesday with the hope that the latest injection proves to be more beneficial than the one he received on Aug. 7.

McCann has batted .228 with 18 home runs and a .702 OPS in 104 games. It appeared he might have righted himself when he batted .296 with nine home runs and a 1.059 OPS in July, but he batted .181 without an extra-base hit in August.

Uggla back in the lineup for Braves

ATLANTA -- As the Braves prepared to conclude a series in San Francisco on Aug. 26, manager Fredi Gonzalez said that he was prepared to be selective regarding Dan Uggla's playing time.

One week later, Gonzalez informed Uggla that he might be out of the lineup more frequently down the stretch.

But after sitting Uggla for three consecutive games, Gonzalez inserted the All-Star second baseman into the lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Rockies.

"I don't think it does him any good to sit more than three [straight games], and it doesn't do us any good," Gonzalez said. "We've got to get him going somehow."

As they look for their offense to be more consistent than it has been over the past three weeks, the Braves are holding out hope that the streaky Uggla will catch fire and produce the way he did over the first 55 games of the season, when he hit .276 with 10 home runs and a .876 OPS.

But over the 75 games since, Uggla has batted .152 with seven home runs and a .578 OPS. He has drawn 45 of his National League-high 80 walks and compiled a .303 on-base percentage during this span.

If Uggla starts heating up, Gonzalez will likely put him back in the lineup on a consistent basis. When Uggla is not in the lineup, Martin Prado will man second base, with Reed Johnson and Jose Constanza platooning in left field.

Simmons could rejoin Braves in New York

ATLANTA -- The Braves have not set an exact return date for Andrelton Simmons, but if the slick-fielding shortstop progresses through his Minor League rehab games without any problems, he could be in the lineup for one of the first two games of this weekend's series against the Mets.

Simmons was scheduled to play with Class A Rome on Wednesday night and with Class A Advanced Lynchburg on Thursday night. Both teams are in the middle of a best-of-three playoff series. If the Lynchburg series is extended to a third game, there is a chance Simmons could also play on Friday night.

Barring a setback, Simmons will join the Braves in New York by Saturday. The 22-year-old has been sidelined since breaking his right pinky finger while sliding into second base in Philadelphia on July 8.

Simmons worked out with the Braves on Sunday, then went 1-for-3 for Double-A Mississippi on Monday night. Rain prevented him from completing his scheduled on-field workout before Tuesday night's game in Atlanta.

"He looked great on Sunday," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He took some [grounders] off the bat. He looked like he was in midseason form."

Already considered one of the game's best defensive shortstops, Simmons energized the Braves' lineup after making the jump from Mississippi to the Majors at the beginning of June. In addition to providing a dependable glove, he hit .296 with a .788 OPS in 33 games with Atlanta.

Worth noting

• Ben Sheets reported no problems after playing catch from a distance of approximately 90 feet on Tuesday. The Braves will continue to show caution with the veteran hurler, who was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 25 with inflammation in his right shoulder. He likely will not be ready to begin preparing for a start within the next 10 days.

• Double-A Mississippi hitting coach Gary Ingram will serve as an extra coach with the big league club over the next two weeks. Class A Rome pitching coach Derrick Lewis will serve in this capacity from Sept. 21 through the end of the season.