07/31/12 8:12 PM ET
Maholm will make Braves debut on Saturday
By Mark Bowman and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Maholm made his final start for the Cubs on Sunday, putting him in line to start again Friday night. Gonzalez said in late summer it can be a good thing to give starting pitchers an extra day of rest when possible.
"This time of year when you can do that for your starters, an extra day here, an extra day there, benefits them," Gonzalez said.
Maholm is 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA this season. He has thrown 120 1/3 innings and struck out 81 against 34 walks.
Maholm will be followed in the Braves rotation by right-hander Kris Medlen, who is making his first start in two years Tuesday.
Johnson a welcome addition for Braves
ATLANTA -- Outfielder Reed Johnson was halfway to home plate at Wrigley Field on Monday night, ready to take his second at-bat in the Cubs' nine-run fifth inning against the Pirates. But before he could dig into the batter's box, he was called back to the dugout.
Johnson and his teammate, left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm, had been traded to the Braves for right-handers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman. Johnson, 35, has been in professional baseball for 12 years, but had never been traded. Still, he had an inkling a trade was in the works.
"This time of year when you get yanked off the field like that you know something's going on," Johnson said. "I didn't know where I was going. I had no idea."
Once Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer met with Johnson to tell him he and Maholm were headed to Atlanta, Johnson said he was excited to join his new teammates in a pennant race.
"I know they've got a good group of guys, and it's always exciting to come over to a group like that," Johnson said. "It's not only a good group of guys, it's a good group of guys that's only a few games out of first place as well."
Johnson arrived in Atlanta around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday after a whirlwind day that began with his meeting with Hoyer. Johnson said he packed quickly, partly because much of his equipment was Cubbie blue and wouldn't fit in with the Braves navy blue and red color scheme. Johnson packed his glove and his bat bag and, after arriving at Turner Field, borrowed a pair of black cleats from second baseman Dan Uggla, who happens to wear the same size shoes.
The Braves are happy to see Johnson, no matter how much luggage he brought. Johnson is hitting .302 with a .799 OPS. He will provide a right-handed bat off the bench and serve the role of fourth outfielder. He can play all three outfield positions, giving Atlanta more options when it wants to give center fielder Michal Bourn a day off.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he hopes to get Johnson's Braves career started quickly and plans to start him on Wednesday against left-hander Wade LeBlanc.
"I'm going to run him in there tomorrow someplace," Gonzalez said. "Whether it's center field or right field, we'll get him in there and let him be a Brave real quick -- if he doesn't pinch-hit tonight."
Johnson is a valuable pinch-hitter. As a pinch-hitter, he is hitting .448 with a .586 slugging percentage this year. With outfielder Matt Diaz on the 15-day disabled list with a right-thumb contusion, the Braves' right-handed options off the bench have been limited.
Eric Hinske, another member of the Braves bench, played with Johnson for four years in Toronto, and compared his style of play to left fielder Martin Prado.
"He wants to get his uniform as dirty as quick as he can," Hinske said. "He's a great piece to have on your team.
"He's a welcome addition."
Hanson placed on DL with lower-back strain
ATLANTA -- After watching Tommy Hanson struggle through a third consecutive start on Monday night, the Braves were leaning toward giving him a couple extra days of rest before his next outing. But they have instead opted to place him on the 15-day disabled list with a lower-back strain.
Hanson felt some discomfort during the All-Star break and then experienced relief for nearly two weeks after taking a Dose Pack. But during the third inning of Monday's win over the Marlins, he experienced what he described as a spasm or muscle strain in his lower back.
"I'm not concerned," Hanson said. "I'm definitely frustrated. I don't want to miss any starts. But considering everything and what we need to do as a team, it's going to work out better this way. I feel like it should be fine after taking these weeks off. Then I should be fine for the rest of the season.
"I know it's not a big deal. It just bothered me a little bit, and I've got to get it right for the rest of the season."
Hanson will not be eligible to be activated until Aug. 15. This means he will likely miss two starts, both of which will likely be filled by Kris Medlen.
"Sometimes during the season when you have these little nagging injuries, you can never catch up," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "You never quite feel right. We feel like putting him on the DL at this time will get him right by the middle of August, and then we'll have him for the stretch run."
Hanson has progressed through this season without any problems with his right shoulder, which forced him to miss most of the final two months of the 2011 season. But he has created some cause for concern while posting a 7.45 ERA and issuing 16 walks in the 19 1/3 innings he has completed in his four starts since the All-Star break.
"I felt like [my back] wasn't bothering me," Hanson said. "So that was never an excuse of mine. Looking back, it could explain it. But it wasn't bothering me. I wasn't feeling any pain or anything like that. It could have played a part, but I don't think it did."