7/20/2014 12:30 A.M. ET
Braves hope for healthy Gattis to be back Monday
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis (back) remains on track for a potential Monday return after catching five innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night. He is slated to serve as the designated hitter on Sunday after catching six to seven innings on Saturday.
Gwinnett manager Brian Snitker has been in close contact with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez since Gattis began his rehab assignment on Thursday. Gattis was hitless in six at-bats entering Saturday, but he is gradually adjusting to game speed after missing more than three weeks.
"Evan told Brian that his timing has gotten better, feels better every time he goes out there," Gonzalez said. "I think we'll make a decision on Sunday afternoon for him to be up here Monday."
Gattis batted second on Saturday night in an effort to get as many at-bats as possible. He only made it to the plate twice in his five innings on Friday while batting in the cleanup spot.
"Don't be asking him to bunt or hit-and-run; I don't know if he can do that," Gonzalez joked. "He's just trying to get as many as-bats as he can in six or seven innings, which is a good idea. It's a great idea."
After callup, Shreve gets first taste of Majors
ATLANTA -- The Braves wasted no time welcoming left-hander Chasen Shreve to the big leagues on Saturday night. The rookie made his Major League debut against Phillies slugger Ryan Howard in the seventh and struck him out.
"Focus on the [catcher's] glove," Shreve said. "Don't focus on who's up, what the situation is. You've got to focus on making quality pitches."
After retiring a player he described as "one of the best," Shreve told reporters he celebrated just "a little bit." He then stopped, smiled and performed a subdued fist pump.
Once Shreve fanned Philadelphia's three-time All-Star, however, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell put him back to work.
"Roger came up and just said, 'Hey, you're going to go out for another one. Good job. First guy, just go out and do what you do,'" Shreve said. "I thought I did that."
The eighth was a little rocky for Shreve, who gave up singles to Marlon Byrd and Domonic Brown that sandwiched a Cody Asche sacrifice bunt, but Anthony Varvaro took care of Shreve's inherited runners to keep the Phillies off the scoreboard.
"I thought I pitched well, threw quality strikes," Shreve said. "It kind of didn't go my way, but it was all right in the end."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez put Shreve right to work after purchasing his contract from Double-A Mississippi on Saturday afternoon, much like he did when rookie reliever Shae Simmons departed Mississippi to join Atlanta on May 31.
Simmons struck out Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia with the tying run on second for the third out in the eighth inning of a Braves victory at Marlins Park.
"We didn't have to pinch-hit and there [were] a couple of left-handers that were there, and I wanted to see what he could do," Gonzalez said of sticking with Shreve. "He did a nice job. He really did. I'm looking forward to continuing to use him in that role."
"It was really nice to get the first one out of the way the first day," Shreve said. "Now I can settle in and hopefully do some good things."
Venters rehabs, throws in back-to-back days
ATLANTA -- Left-hander Jonny Venters threw for the first time on Friday since he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in early June. He also threw on Saturday, a workout consisting of 20-25 throws from 60 feet.
There remains no timetable for a return, as the southpaw is taking it day by day.
"It feels good," Venters said of his surgically repaired left elbow. "I've been throwing for a couple of days. Today's my second day, so it's light. So far, so good."
Multiple bouts of elbow soreness have slowed Venters, who is attempting to return from his second Tommy John surgery. He is hopeful his recent PRP injection helps alleviate the soreness he felt so soon after his last break from throwing.
"It's just part of the deal, part of the process," Venters said. "I had to get through that rough patch. Hopefully it'll build back up pretty quick, so we'll see."
Venters went more than five weeks without throwing in order to let the PRP injection take effect, so the main focus now is simply regaining his arm strength.
"The program will gradually increase in distance and effort," Venters said. "Build the arm speed back up, and then you get on the mound. So I have no idea about a time frame or anything like that. I've just got to build it back up."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.