7/21/2013 3:10 P.M. ET
Loe rediscovers sinker, back in Majors with Braves
By Brian Hedger / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Kameron Loe hopes this time he'll stick in the Major Leagues with the Braves, after the team called up the 31-year-old veteran reliever to add a long relief option.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound right-hander started the season with the Mariners and was signed to a Minor League contract by the Braves on May 11 after the Cubs designated him for assignment. Utility specialist Tyler Pastornicky was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday morning to make room on the roster, before the series finale against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Loe, who gave up nine home runs in April with the Mariners and Cubs, appears to have figured out his sinker again at Gwinnett -- where he allowed just two homers since joining the Braves' organization. Loe appeared in 21 games for Gwinnett, going 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA with 24 strikeouts and eight walks in 42 1/3 innings.
"There were obviously a couple things I needed to get straight," said Loe, who also made a couple of starts with Gwinnett to stretch out his arm. "I gave up nine home runs in April, which was pretty bad. My stuff was flat and I had to make a couple of adjustments, but I've been feeling good lately."
The Braves are the fifth franchise he's pitched for and 12th professional team, including a stint in 2009 with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japan Pacific League.
"I hope to be here for the rest of the season and help them win," Loe said. "They gave me a few starts and I'm feeling good. I'm throwing the ball well and getting a bunch of ground balls, feeling healthy and ready to go. I was up to 90-some pitches, so whatever they need out of me."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez likes what he's ready from scouting reports and is interested to see Loe pitch live. Loe's best seasons were with the Brewers from 2010-12 and Gonzalez hopes Loe can find that form again with the Braves, who could use the help in the bullpen, especially after David Carpenter threw three innings of relief in a 10-6 loss Saturday.
"We're playing with one guy short in the bullpen and then [Saturday] with [Paul Maholm] coming out of his start short and using Carpenter for three innings, we feel more comfortable having another guy out there," Gonzalez said. "Loe's had a couple starts down there, so he can give you two or three innings out of the bullpen if you need it. The reports we've gotten is that his sinker is really good again."
Maholm heads to Atlanta for full exam on left wrist
CHICAGO -- The Braves are headed to New York for a four-game series against the Mets that starts Monday, but starter Paul Maholm went back to Atlanta on Sunday to get his sprained left wrist checked out.
Maholm will visit with Dr. Gary Lourie, the Braves' associate physician and hand specialist, after leaving his start on Saturday in the fourth inning because of the wrist -- which he first aggravated hitting against the Marlins in his final start before the All-Star break.
A White Sox physician took a look at it Saturday and X-rays came back negative, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the team wants to have a full workup done to make sure it's nothing more serious than a sprain.
"X-rays were negative, but he's not going to pitch for the next four days -- why not send him down and have our guy, our hand specialist, look at him?" Gonzalez said before series finale against the White Sox on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. "He saw their doctor, but … I think all they did was an X-ray here, so he'll go home and get a study. We'll call it a study. That kind of covers everything -- MRI, X-ray, bone scan, bone graph, whatever."
Before leaving for Atlanta, Maholm was at the ballpark with his left wrist wrapped in ice. Gonzalez didn't rule him out of his next start, which is scheduled for Thursday at Citi Field against Zack Wheeler.
After getting through the first two innings unscathed, Maholm gave up five runs in the third and had two more tacked on in Chicago's four-run fourth -- after the Braves had built a 4-0 lead. Maholm said the wrist only bothered him during the fourth, when it flared up during his warmup throws.
"I didn't do a whole lot over the break and I aggravated it and it's just one of those things that, as a pitcher, if you have anything in your wrist or anything … you're not able to let it loose or let it go and make your pitches," he said after the game. "I tried to get through the warmups and get through the first few hitters and see if I could do it, and it was just something that obviously wasn't going away."
Maholm took the loss, his third in as many outings. He also saw his record drop to 4-7 in 13 road starts and his road ERA balloon to 6.03, as compared to 5-2 with 1.93 ERA in seven home starts.
Heyward sits out, expected to start Monday
CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward didn't start for the sixth straight game Sunday while recovering from a strain of his right hamstring, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez expects to put his name in the lineup Monday in New York.
Heyward didn't start any of the three games against the White Sox this weekend, after missing the final three games of a four-game series against the Reds before the All-Star break. Before taking batting practice and doing some running Sunday, Heyward said he felt "really good," and was available to be used as a defensive replacement.
He also said Gonzalez told him the plan will be for him to play center field upon his return, until B.J. Upton (right adductor muscle strain) comes off the 15-day disabled list.
"I just wanted to make sure my legs were 100 percent before I can go out there and attempt to do that, so having this extra day is great for me," Heyward said. "I'm ready to go play some defense late in the game if I have to and [Monday] we'll see where we're at … but I think I'm ready to go. I'm excited about playing."
Gonzalez isn't sure where he'll slide hot-hitting Chris Johnson into the lineup once Heyward returns. Johnson has been in the second slot and hitting the ball hard. Johnson came into Sunday's game 4-of-8 in this series and 7-for-17 during a four-game hitting streak.
Sunday was just the sixth time he's hit in the second spot this season, but Johnson is used to bouncing around, as he's hit in every spot but leadoff and ninth in 2013.
"He keeps hitting," Gonzalez said. "He's got a good swing. He stays on the ball and gives you good at-bats. Let's say Heyward plays, I don't know where we're going to put Chris. I may move Chris back down. If I lead him off in a game, I don't know what he'd do … take a pitch, not take a pitch, sometimes guys start getting confused."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.