5/22/2013 2:07 A.M. ET
Uggla downplays heavier bat, expecting big series
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said too much was made of the fact that he used a slightly heavier bat when he halted his most recent slump with a three-run homer in the first inning of Monday night's win over the Twins.
Uggla's decision to go with the bigger bat was simply a product of his willingness to change things up, as he entered Monday hitting .182 with seven homers through 39 games. After recording three multi-hit games from May 3-8, he had two hits in the 27 at-bats over the his next eight games.
After extending his success against Kevin Correia on Monday, Uggla, who entered the game batting .406 (13-for-32) against Tuesday's starter Mike Pelfrey, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in a 5-4, extra-inning win. He has four hits, including two home runs, in nine career at-bats against Wednesday's starter Vance Worley.
"This is a good week for him and for us," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's got some really good numbers against these guys that are pitching. He's had some success against them. So maybe this will get him going."
Walden plays long toss, expects to return next week
ATLANTA -- Jordan Walden might not be quite ready to come off the disabled list when he becomes eligible for activation on Monday. But the right-handed reliever is confident his ailing right shoulder will be strong enough for him to rejoin Atlanta's injury-depleted bullpen at some point next week. Walden's confidence grew after he completed a couple of pain free rounds of long toss on Tuesday afternoon at Turner Field.
"[My shoulder] is strong right now," Walden said. "I played catch today and it was better than it has been almost all season."
This is certainly good news for the Braves, who have seen Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty undergo season-ending Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery over the past week. Venters, O'Flaherty and Walden entered the season projected to serve as closer Craig Kimbrel's top setup men.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Walden will complete a bullpen session later this week and then make at least one Minor League rehab appearance before being activated.
Walden was placed on the disabled list on Friday (retroactive to Sunday) with right shoulder inflammation. After producing a pair of impressive scoreless outings against the Nationals on April 29 and May 2, the 28-year-old reliever allowed at least one run in each of his next three appearances.
"I tried to pitch through it," Walden said. "But it gets to a point where you are just hurting the team and hurting your arm."
When Walden returns, he could team with left-hander Luis Avilan and right-handed sidearm reliever Cory Gearrin to serve as Kimbrel's top setup men.
• Andrelton Simmons is still waiting for Major League Baseball to respond to his petition to review two scoring calls that denied him a couple of potential hits in Friday night's game against the D-backs. But MLB informed the Braves on Tuesday that, after reviewing a ruling from last week's game in Arizona, they took a hit away from Simmons and charged Arizona third baseman Eric Chavez with an error.
• The career-high 123 pitches Julio Teheran threw while completing 8 1/3 innings in Monday's win over the Twins was the second highest total by a Braves pitcher dating back to the start of the 2007 season. The only one higher was the 125 Kenshin Kawakami threw in seven innings during a 10-inning win over the Dodgers on Aug. 8, 2009.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.