8/20/2014 7:13 P.M. ET
Uptons help support Jackie Robinson West team
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Along with being among the many who have participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton can take pride in the fact that they are part of the group of Major Leaguers who have allowed many of the members of the Jackie Robinson West team to be joined by their parents at the Little League World Series.
With LaTroy Hawkins serving as the organizer, the Upton brothers agreed to make monetary donations that allowed some of these parents to travel from their inner-city Chicago homes to see their sons play in Williamsport, Pa. The Jackie Robinson West Club will play either Philadelphia or Las Vegas on Thursday night for the right to continue fighting to serve as the Unites States entrant in Sunday's championship game.
"I know for Justin and I, it was a no-brainer, so we [donated]," B.J. Upton said. "We're definitely rooting for them. The Little League World Series is always fun to watch. But when you feel a connection to a team, it definitely makes it more interesting."
Before Wednesday night's game against the Pirates, the Upton brothers accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge issued to them by Florida State head football coach Jimbo Fisher's sons Trey and Ethan.
"It's become kind of a big thing and everybody knows ALS is a terrible disease," Justin Upton said. "Being able to be a part of it and to raise awareness for ALS research, 'Heck yeah, I'm in.'"
With discomfort in shoulder, S. Simmons given rest
PITTSBURGH -- When this week began, the Braves thought Shae Simmons might be just a few days away from rejoining Atlanta's bullpen. But they are now simply hoping Simmons eventually overcomes the right shoulder ailment that has forced him to be shut down again.
Instead of making his third scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday, Simmons was experiencing the rest that was prescribed when he informed members of the Braves' medical staff that he was once again feeling some discomfort in the back of his right shoulder.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Simmons will likely be examined by one of the team's doctors within the next couple days.
Simmons has been sidelined with a right shoulder strain since July 24. The ailment did not seem to plague him as he needed just 10 pitches to complete a perfect inning in his first rehab appearance on Saturday. But when he took the mound again on Monday for Gwinnett, he allowed four runs and totaled 24 pitches without recording an out.
"He came in today sore from the other night, so they shut him down," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Wednesday. "We'll let that thing calm down a little bit and then we'll see where he's at."
Braves consider next steps for Bethancourt, Peraza
PITTSBURGH -- Though they were both placed on the disabled list this week, Christian Bethancourt and Jose Peraza stand among the candidates who will be evaluated as the Braves decide who to add to their expanded roster in September. But Bethancourt is the only member of this duo who should assume he will be spending the next month at the Major League level battling for a postseason berth.
If Andrelton Simmons' previously-sprained left ankle had forced him to the disabled list last week, the Braves would have at least debated whether Peraza would have been their best option to handle the shortstop position for a couple weeks. But if his primary September role would simply be to serve as a pinch-hitter, the club might be reluctant to add the highly-regarded 20-year-old prospect to their roster.
Peraza was placed on Double-A Mississippi's seven-day disabled list with a left groin strain. While the Braves are hoping that he returns to action soon, they certainly are not going to take any risks with the young infielder with the gifted legs.
"We will be cautious with Peraza and make sure he is ready before we do anything," Braves assistant general manager Bruce Manno said.
Peraza has combined to hit .341 with a .366 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage in 108 games with Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Mississippi this year. He has been successful with 60 of his 75 stolen-base attempts.
While Peraza has the potential to soon become Atlanta's second baseman and leadoff hitter, it is too early to know whether he will be deemed ready for the start of the 2015 season. He has played 42 games and totaled 188 plate appearances above the Class A level.
Bethancourt, who is on Triple-A Gwinnett's seven-day DL with a bruised left hand, will almost certainly be with Atlanta at the beginning of next year. The success he had while handling the catching duties for the first few weeks of July increased reason to believe the Braves should try to trade Evan Gattis to an American League club this winter.
• As expected, Andrelton Simmons was back in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Pirates. Simmons exited Tuesday night's win after he tweaked his left hip while sliding into second base.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.