09/12/12 10:08 PM ET
Braves focused on Brewers, not Nationals
By Jordan Schelling / Special to MLB.com
"I'm not talking about the Nationals," he said. "We play the Brewers today. I'm not one of those players that likes to get ahead and talk about this game and who you're playing. ... We play the Brewers today.
"Find me after the game or find me Thursday or Friday, we can talk about it any time. But I want to win against the Brewers today."
If there was any question about whether the Braves were looking past this series to the weekend matchup with the National League East-leading Nationals, Bourn answered it.
Especially with the offense struggling Monday and Tuesday, the Braves were especially focused on Wednesday in finishing off the six-game road trip with a win.
"What about these guys right now?" Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the Brewers. "We came in here, and we knew that these guys were playing well.
"No, no, we weren't overlooking them at all. They've just pitched really well against us. And we haven't swung the bats."
With the way the Brewers have been playing lately, the Braves have added incentive to slow their momentum.
The hottest teams tend to be the most dangerous in the postseason, and with 17 wins in 22 games entering Wednesday, the Brewers fit that profile.
"We can't take them for granted. They've been playing well. They bring it every day just like we try to bring it," Bourn said. "They know that they're right there in the thick of things. They're only four games back. Other teams are losing, so, hey, they have a chance. But we're trying to stop that chance."
Simmons day to day with right ankle sprain
MILWAUKEE -- Trying to avoid a hand injury, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons went back to second base feet first on a third-inning pickoff attempt Tuesday night. It turns out he was overthinking things after missing two months with a broken pinkie finger.
While he protected his fingers, Simmons' awkward move resulted in a sprained right ankle. The injury kept Simmons out of the lineup against the Brewers on Wednesday, but the rookie shortstop said he felt well enough to go.
Paul Janish started in place of Simmons, who is not expected to miss more than a game or two.
"He came in today and it looks better than we suspected," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We're just going to call it day to day. Hopefully, with some treatment today and the off-day tomorrow, he can play Friday."
Though Simmons stayed in for the remainder of Tuesday's loss, the Braves were worried at one point it might have been more of a serious high ankle injury.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada tried to get Simmons on back-to-back pickoff attempts. It appeared on the first that Simmons nearly dove back before switching to a bit of an unusual feet-first move. He returned standing up on the second attempt.
Simmons said his foot got stuck in the dirt and jammed against the bag on the first slide. So, will he be going headfirst next time?
"Yeah, definitely. I'm not thinking; Whatever comes to my head first, I'm going," Simmons said. "I talked to the trainers. They said it's OK to go headfirst. I was just being cautious with everything."
Bourn trying to get back to first-half form
MILWAUKEE -- As leadoff hitter Michael Bourn goes, so go the Braves.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise they managed just one run in the first two games of the series against the Brewers. After all, Bourn did go 0-for-8 with two strikeouts.
"That's part of how my role is," Bourn said. "I accept it. It's no problem with me. I like it."
So what can the club do to get Bourn swinging a hot bat again like he was early in the season? Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the center fielder had been working with hitting coach Greg Walker on a few small changes.
Bourn would not share any specifics Wednesday afternoon, but did say he's been looking at some things with Walker.
"Walk told me just a little something here, and that he [doesn't] want me trying to change this and that too much," Bourn said. "'Just stay with what you've been doing, and things will happen.'"
After batting .311 going into the All-Star break, Bourn has hit at just a .228 clip in the second half. He has just 12 extra-base hits over that 57-game span, while striking out 64 times and picking up 29 walks.
Without his presence on base in front of the Braves' big bats, it makes creating runs more difficult.
"He causes problems on the basepaths when he's on. He creates runs with his legs," Gonzalez said. "We've got to get him going. And we will."
Chipper joins Ruth, Gehrig in elite club
With a little more than three weeks left in his storied career, Chipper Jones has joined an elite group that previously only included Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig.
The walk Jones drew to begin the fourth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Brewers was the 1,500th of his career. This marked the last milestone that he had to hit to join these legends in this select group.
Musial, Ruth, Williams, Gehrig and Jones are the only players in Major League history to record at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 walks, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBIs while hitting .300 with a .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.
Jones' career statistics entering Wednesday included: 2,716 hits, 1,499 walks, 1,611 runs, 547 doubles, 468 home runs, 1,620 RBIs, .304 batting average, .401 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage.
-- Mark Bowman
Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.