05/08/2013 1:02 PM ET
Upton brothers, McCann rest for series finale in Cincy
By Tony Meale / Special to MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Brian McCann had Wednesday off for the Braves' series finale against the Reds.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the series that McCann would not play the finale. The six-time All-Star made his season debut Monday after missing the first five weeks of the year recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Gonzalez did not want McCann to catch three games in a 48-hour period.
As for the Upton brothers, Gonzalez simply wanted to give them a breather.
"You look at the schedule, and you see these [12:35] games in the middle of the week, and you kind of [make] a mental note that this is a good day to play your bench," Gonzalez said. "Let the [bench players] in there and let them play. It usually works out pretty well, because you get some energy. They haven't played in four or five days, they're going to go [all out].
"And by the way, we got three guys on the bench that we can plug in wherever we want at any part of the game."
It will be the first day off of the season for Justin Upton, who has played in all 32 games, hitting .278 and leading the Majors with 12 home runs. His brother, B.J., has played in 30 games and is hitting .153 with three home runs and five RBIs.
McCann, meanwhile, got his first hit of the season Tuesday, ripping a two-out, bases-loaded single to right off of Reds starter Homey Bailey that plated two. McCann is 1-for-8 with a walk since returning from the disabled list.
"Nobody plays 162 anymore," Gonzalez said. "You've got to play your bench, especially in the National League."
Kimbrel likely out for finale, but not due to struggles
CINCINNATI -- Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who has blown three saves in his past five appearances, may not be available Wednesday against the Reds.
It is not Kimbrel's performance that may keep him on the bench, but rather the fact that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn't love the idea of pitching him three days in a row -- at least not this early in the season.
Kimbrel was one out away from his 100th career save Tuesday, retiring the first two batters he faced before Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco sent a 3-2 fastball over the fence in right-center field to tie the game at 4.
It was Mesoraco's first homer of the season and the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
Shin-Soo Choo, who homered earlier in the game off Braves starter Kris Medlen, followed with a home run to left-center to win the game. It was the eighth multihomer game and the second walk-off homer of Choo's career.
"It is what it is," Gonzalez said. "At the end of the year, [Kimbrel's] going to have 40-something saves and five blown saves or four blown saves. It just so happens he's getting them right here in a little bunch. No worries."
In his past five appearances, Kimbrel's ERA has risen from 0.00 to 3.38.
"We probably won't [use him] today," Gonzalez said, "but yeah, if we've got a save situation [Thursday], we run him back out there, of course."
Heyward slated to begin rehab with Triple-A
CINCINNATI -- The Braves will fly to San Francisco for a four-game series with the Giants after Wednesday's series finale against the Reds. Jason Heyward, meanwhile, will fly to Atlanta.
Heyward, who has not played since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on April 22, will play in a rehab game for Triple-A Gwinnett at 10:35 a.m. ET on Thursday. He will then travel with Gwinnett to Scranton, Pa., for a weekend series, though it has not been decided how long Heyward's rehab assignment will last.
Heyward took batting practice Wednesday for the third day in a row and also ran. He hit .121 with two home runs and five RBIs in his first 17 games.
• Gonzalez said that reliever Jonny Venters will throw off a mound Thursday for the first time since exiting a Grapefruit League game with elbow discomfort on March 26. Venters visited Dr. James Andrews on April 2, and the lefty received a platelet-rich plasma injection and was ordered to rest for four weeks. Gonzalez didn't know how long Venters would throw for, but said it's encouraging that he'll be back on the hill.
Tony Meale is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.