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8/21/2013 12:55 A.M. ET

J-Up scratched from lineup with upper back strain

NEW YORK -- Braves left fielder Justin Upton was scratched from Atlanta's lineup Tuesday against the Mets with a left upper back strain.

Before the Braves took batting practice, Upton was taking some swings in the batting cage at Citi Field when the area tightened up on him. He received treatment immediately, but Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said it never loosened up to the point he felt comfortable keeping him in the lineup.

He was supposed to be hitting second and playing left field, but the Braves announced Upton was out of the lineup shortly before first pitch. Evan Gattis started in left for Atlanta, which lost to New York, 5-3.

"You get muscle tightness, things lock up," Upton said. "You just give it a little bit of time and it'll work itself out. Obviously, getting treatment and stuff like that, hopefully it feels better tomorrow. You just never know."

Upton is hitting .269 with 23 home runs and 62 RBIs.

"It about stayed the same. It hasn't gotten any worse," Upton said. "I imagine overnight getting some rest and coming back tomorrow and getting more treatment, it should be getting progressively better."

Maholm set to come off DL, start Thursday vs. Cards

NEW YORK -- In the month he's been away from a Major League mound, the impatience set in for Paul Maholm. He's ready to come off the disabled list and get back into the Braves' rotation.

On Thursday, he'll get his wish. The left-hander will be activated from the DL to start Atlanta's series opener in St. Louis. Mike Minor was originally scheduled to start Thursday, but the Braves have pushed him back to Tuesday against the Indians.

"It's been a month. Like I said early on, I'm not a very good DL patient," Maholm said. "I'm just looking forward to just getting back in there and competing, and obviously we've been playing well. So obviously it's been fun to watch, but it's going to be better to be a part of it."

Maholm has been on the DL with a bruised left wrist and hasn't pitched since July 20. Before going on the DL, Maholm was 9-9 with a 4.41 ERA in 20 starts.

In a rehab start for Class A Rome on Saturday night, Maholm allowed one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.

None of the four hits, Maholm said, were hit particularly hard. He said his pitches felt good, and he was able to throw breaking balls for strikes. Although there's certainly a difference between Class A and Major League hitters, Maholm came out of the start confident since his command was there.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Bobby Cox was at the game to see Maholm pitch and gave positive reviews.

With Maholm rejoining the rotation, the Braves now find themselves with six starters. But at this point in the season, it's a good problem for Atlanta to have. With such a young rotation, Gonzalez said he can give other starters some extra rest to conserve their innings now that Maholm is healthy.

"It's really not a six-man rotation," Gonzalez said. "We're trying to use Paulie to give some other guys a little breather."

Maholm said he's pain-free and ready to pitch on a big league mound again.

"Everything's back to normal," he said.

Uggla takes BP for first time since LASIK surgery

NEW YORK -- Second baseman Dan Uggla took batting practice before the Braves' game against the Mets on Tuesday at Citi Field as he works his way back to the lineup following LASIK surgery.

Uggla went on the disabled list on Aug. 13 to undergo the corrective eye surgery to improve his vision. Before going on the DL, Uggla was hitting .186 with 21 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said Uggla looked good in the batting cage, and he will take BP again when the Braves start their series in St. Louis on Thursday.

Gonzalez said it's possible Uggla will return to Atlanta to be seen by doctors before playing in a rehab game.

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.