09/22/12 9:03 PM ET
Braves give Simmons one more day of rest
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
"It's getting there, and he's really, really close," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Simmons has been sidelined since jamming his right shoulder during Monday's win over the Marlins. The dazzling young shortstop has played just six games since missing two months with a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand. He was also hobbled last week by a sprained right ankle.
The Braves will be without backup shortstop Paul Janish for the remainder of the regular season and possibly through the first couple weeks of October. Janish dislocated his left shoulder while diving to his right during Tuesday's loss to the Marlins.
Braves line up rotation to start Medlen in WC
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez has altered his rotation to line Kris Medlen up to start the one-game playoff the Braves will play if they gain entry to the postseason with one of the National League's two Wild Card entries.
Though there is still an outside chance the Braves could win the National League East, Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell had to start making plans for this one-game playoff, which is scheduled to be played between the NL's two Wild Card entrants on Oct. 5. The winner will advance to the Division Series.
If the Braves win the one-game playoff with Medlen on the mound, Tim Hudson would start Game 1 of the Division Series. The adjustments to the rotation also allow Hudson to start the one-game playoff if necessary.
"It's no secret. Medlen has been our best pitcher for the better part of a month or two now," Hudson said. "He definitely has to pitch important games for us, whether it be the first one or the second one. He's the guy we've got to lean on. We've been leaning on him for a while now."
Medlen has compiled a 0.76 ERA and limited opponents to a .195 batting average in the 10 starts he has made since moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation. The Braves have won each of the past 21 games started by Medlen dating back to 2010.
If Medlen pitches the one-game playoff, he would be available to pitch Game 3 of the Division Series on regular rest. Hudson will be available to start Games 1 and 5 in the best-of-five series.
"In games like that, you want your best guys ready to go," Hudson said. "I don't think it's any secret that [Medlen] has not only been one of our best pitchers, but one of the best pitchers in the game for the past month and a half."
To put Medlen in line to start the potential one-game playoff, Gonzalez simply flip-flopped the red-hot pitcher with Paul Maholm in the rotation. Medlen will now start Tuesday against the Marlins and then make his final regular-season start in the Braves' home finale on Sept. 30.
Maholm will start Wednesday's game against the Marlins, and the struggling Tommy Hanson will make at least one more start on Thursday.
Hudson will start Friday's series opener against the Mets and would be in line to pitch the regular-season finale against the Pirates. But the Braves are hoping there is not a need for him to make that start. If they have clinched all that they can clinch at that point, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran could start that last game of the regular season.
Bourn jams thumb on slide, but injury not serious
PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Bourn received a scare when he jammed his left thumb sliding head first into second base during the fourth inning of Saturday's 8-2 win over the Phillies. The Braves center fielder played the remainder of the game after a quick evaluation determined he likely did not incur any structural damage.
Bourn will miss Sunday's series finale against the Phillies and then take advantage of Monday's scheduled off-day. He is hoping to return to the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Marlins.
"It's just jammed," Bourn said as he dipped his sore thumb in a cup of cold water. "They did all of the tests on it and all of that. There wasn't any fractures or anything like that."
Bourn suffered the ailment after he was forced to rush to second base after freezing on Martin Prado's soft single to shallow center with one out in the fourth inning. After he dove into second base, he remained on his knees momentarily and appeared to be in pain. He continued to flex his left hand until he returned to the dugout for a quick evaluation just before taking the field in the bottom of the fourth.
"I did it before where I tore my ligament, so I know what it feels like," Bourn said. "I knew I jammed it. I was just thinking, 'Get to second,' because I wanted Martin to get the hit. It dropped in there, and the last thing I wanted was to get out there. So in my head, all I was thinking was, 'Get to the bag.' I was just going too fast and I slid head first. I don't like to slide head first, and that's the reason why, it's too risky."
Chipper Jones is not expected not start on Sunday in what will likely be the last game he ever plays in Philadelphia. With Monday's scheduled off-day, this will give Jones a chance to get two consecutive days of rest leading into the regular season's final full week.
Ben Sheets said he is available to pitch out of the bullpen at any time. But he likely would not be able to pitch more than one or two innings at a time. Though he has been sidelined over the past month, the upbeat, jovial pitcher has continued to be an asset in the clubhouse.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.