07/12/12 8:16 PM ET
Sheets tabbed to start on Sunday against Mets
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Sheets will be making his first start in the Major Leagues since July 19, 2010, when he was a member of the Athletics. The four-time All-Star has since undergone Tommy John surgery (2010) and has missed two of the last three seasons because of injuries.
Sheets made two starts for Double-A Mississippi since the Braves signed him to a Minor League contract on July 1. In 10 2/3 innings he allowed 12 hits and seven runs (six earned). He struck out 10 and walked just one.
Sheets said that he felt good in his Minor League starts.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well, to tell you the truth," Sheets said. "Mistakes got hit, like they will up here. Even when you're in midseason form, you make mistakes -- it's going to happen. You try to minimize them and make pitches around them."
Gonzalez said that Sheets will be on a pitch count on Sunday -- fewer than 100, possibly as few as the high 80s. Sheets threw 89 pitches in his final start at Mississippi, on July 9.
"With the off-day on Monday, we've got a lot of support behind him," Gonzalez said. "So if he goes out and gives us five innings the first time out, that's fine."
Whom Sheets replaces in the rotation has not yet been decided. Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson will start the first two games of the Mets series, and Jair Jurrjens will start Tuesday's series opener against the Giants. Wednesday's starter will either be left-hander Mike Minor or right-hander Randall Delgado, with the other returning to the Minor Leagues.
Gonzalez has an idea who will remain in the rotation, but the Braves aren't ready to make the decision.
"We'll see how this weekend shapes up before we make that decision on who's going to go on Wednesday," Gonzalez said.
Braves mulling options at shortstop
ATLANTA -- When the Braves placed shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a broken right pinky finger, they did not immediately call anyone up to take his roster spot. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that the decision won't be made until after Triple-A Gwinnett's game on Thursday night.
"We've got a couple of options in Triple-A that we can call up," Gonzalez said. "We're going to keep weighing those options."
Tyler Pastornicky and Josh Wilson are both possibilities. Pastornicky was the Braves' Opening Day shortstop before being sent down at the end of May, making way for Simmons. Wilson has played parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues as a utility infielder, most recently for the Brewers and D-backs in 2011.
The Braves haven't set a timetable for Simmons' return. He will be in a cast for four weeks and will then be re-evaluated.
General manager Frank Wren is also looking outside the organization to fill the hole in the lineup.
"I think we're looking right now," Gonzalez said. "I spoke to Frank almost twice every day during the [All-Star] break. He's looking out there. He's looking around to see who's available."
More immediately, Gonzalez is leaning toward starting Jack Wilson on Friday, no matter who is called up.
"I told him Sunday in Philadelphia after the game, 'You rest up the next four days,'" Gonzalez said. "'I don't want you going out to Six Flags and all these places and getting worn out, because we're going to have to ride you for a while.'"
In 39 games this season, Wilson is hitting .174 with a .194 on-base percentage.
Venters feels 'great' after throwing session
ATLANTA -- Left-hander Jonny Venters threw off flat ground on Wednesday for the first time since July 5, when the Braves placed him on the 15-day disabled list with impingement in his elbow. He said he felt "great," and threw again on Thursday.
"My arm felt like it was coming out good," Venters said. "I'm encouraged."
Venters plans to throw off a mound this weekend. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Venters is still on track to be activated on July 20, the first day he is eligible to return.
"When his 15 days are up, I think he'll be ready to roll," Gonzalez said. "We'll see."
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.