03/05/2013 10:55 PM ET
Simmons' Classic experience extended
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- When the Kingdom of the Netherlands won their World Baseball Classic game Monday, the Braves lost their shortstop for a few more days. Andrelton Simmons remains AWL -- away with leave. No problem, says manager Fredi Gonzalez. The Braves would prefer to have their 23-year-old shortstop/leadoff man with them.
But Gonzalez says he is comfortable without him.
"He's playing, he's getting his at-bats, so it's all right," the manager said Tuesday before the Braves played the Yankees here. "He'll be back with us and have enough time [after the Classic, no matter how many games the Kingdom of the Netherlands plays]."
The Braves brought almost all of their regulars to Tampa. They had no game Wednesday and don't play again until Thursday night at home against the Tigers. Tyler Pastornicky, the Opening Day shortstop last season. started at shortstop Tuesday and will get most of the innings there until Simmons returns.
Uggla not hurt after being hit in back of head
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees' trainer and the Braves' medical personnel consulted outside Atlanta's clubhouse Tuesday night after Dan Uggla had been struck in the back of the head by a pitch thrown by Brandon Pinder, a non-roster right-handed pitcher with the Yankees. They seemed more concerned for the Braves' second baseman than he was.
Uggla, batting in the sixth spot in the lineup, was struck at the base of his batting helmet on the back of his neck. He reacted with anger, thought he later indicated he was certain Pinder hadn't meant to hit him. He was removed from the game, but when he reached the clubhouse nine minutes after being struck, he seemed fine.
"I never went black, no concussion," he said.
Uggla didn't expect to be examined. He didn't want to undergo tests for a concussion as he did last summer after he'd been hit, also in the head, by Marlins pitcher and former teammate Chad Gaudin.
"You know, when you get hit, your first reaction is anger," Uggla said. "But that goes away fast. Then you're just happy you can get up and walk away."
McGriff in uniform with Braves in Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. -- When the Braves play a Spring Training game in Tampa, the visiting clubhouse adds one more body, that of Tampa native Fred McGriff. The former Braves slugger entered the clubhouse smiling Tuesday afternoon. No surprise there. He could just as easily be identified as Fred McGrinn.
His smile was a little bit bigger Tuesday because three lockers to his right, a man he knew well from his Minor League days was dressing -- Ralph Garr, who is serving a guest instructor.
"We're old friends," McGriff said. "But he's an older friend than I am."
McGriff is 49, and Garr, 67.
• Gonzalez indicated nothing should be read into the Braves' decision to have none of their starting pitchers throw a bullpen session Wednesday, an off-day for the team. Gonzalez said the day free of throwing is in no way an indication Tim Hudson or Kris Medlen is in line to be the starting pitcher against the Phillies on Opening Day.
• Paul Maholm didn't particularly distinguish himself against a modest Yankees batting order Tuesday night despite pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Making his third start, the second against the Yankees, Maholm allowed four walks and three hits. He struck out two. But he hardly was economical, throwing only 45 strikes among his 81 pitches.
"He had a tough time with his command," Gonzalez said. "But he battled, and he got his pitch count up."
• Jordan Schafer, batting leadoff with Simmons playing in the World Baseball Classic, doubled and scored in the first inning of the Braves' 2-0 victory against the Yankees on Tuesday. He walked in his second plate appearance, leading off the third, and stole second base. He also walked in the seventh after the Braves had scored their second run, on a balk.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.