8/26/2014 10:21 P.M. ET
Venters shut down; Shae's return on hold
By Mark Bowman and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- While Shae Simmons still hopes to eventually rejoin Atlanta's bullpen this season, Jonny Venters has been forced to at least temporarily halt his bid to return from a second Tommy John surgery.
After Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Tuesday afternoon that Venters' rehab program was being shut down, general manager Frank Wren indicated that the club still believes Simmons simply needs rest to overcome the shoulder discomfort that put him on the disabled list after his July 24 appearance.
Simmons was bidding to join Atlanta's bullpen last week. But after he did not record an out in his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett, the rookie reliever was shut down again.
Wren said he did not believe the Braves medical staff believed there was any reason for Simmons to undergo an MRI exam.
"They just think it's a little tender and not quite ready yet, but nothing major," Wren said.
Thoughts of Venters potentially serving as a reliable bullpen piece this year seemed to fade as he spent the past month battling elbow discomfort. But it was not until Tuesday that the Braves essentially ended any lingering hope that Venters might at least experience a feel-good moment by pitching in at least one game this year.
While in Pittsburgh last week, Venters cut one of his bullpen sessions short. After he experienced more elbow discomfort while playing catch in Cincinnati this past weekend, the Braves decided to send him to see Dr. James Andrews, who performed the elbow surgery on Venters in 2005 and again last year.
"Maybe the second time around, it just takes a little longer," Gonzalez said. "I told him to just keep plugging away."
After making 230 appearances -- one shy of the Major League-leading total -- from 2010-2012, Venters underwent his second Tommy John surgery and missed all of the '13 season. Despite understanding the comeback odds that were stacked against Venters, the Braves still took the commendable route by giving the veteran left-handed reliever a one-year, $1.63 million deal that matched his salary from the previous season.
Seven Braves prospects set to compete in AFL
NEW YORK -- Kyle Wren, Edward Salcedo and Aaron Northcraft headline the list of seven Braves prospects who will compete in this year's Arizona Fall League. They will be part of the Peoria Javelinas club that will employ Triple-A Gwinnett's Garey Ingram as its hitting coach.
Jose Peraza has established himself as Atlanta's most intriguing prospect this season and he was a candidate to play in the AFL. But the speedy infielder is instead expected to spend this winter playing in his native Venezuela, where he can be part of a longer season and compile more plate appearances.
Wren has batted .282 with a .699 OPS over 128 combined games for Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi this year. The speedy outfielder, who is the son of Atlanta general manager Frank Wren, has been successful with 44 of 58 stolen-base attempts.
Once heralded as a top prospect, Salcedo has struggled at the plate and provided reason to wonder where he would fit from a defensive perspective. The 23-year-old former shortstop has spent most of the past two months playing the outfield. He entered Tuesday hitting .211 with 10 homers and a .655 OPS for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Northcraft opened some eyes when he posted a 2.88 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts) for Mississippi this year. But since being promoted to Gwinnett, the 24-year-old right-hander has posted a 6.23 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts).
The other Braves prospects scheduled to play in the AFL include infielder Daniel Castro and right-handed pitchers Brandon Cunniff, Nate Hyatt and Ryne Harper.
Bethancourt collects three hits with Triple-A Gwinnett
Catcher Christian Bethancourt returned to Triple-A Gwinnett's lineup Monday after spending a week on the disabled list due to a bruised left hand he suffered when he was hit by a foul tip. Tuesday, the Braves' No. 3 prospect collected three hits and homered to lead Gwinnett to a 7-1 victory against Durham.
Bethancourt, ranked No. 80 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, finished the night 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. His home run was his eighth of the season and third in the last three weeks.
Center fielder Todd Cunningham, the Braves' No. 18 prospect, went 2-for-3 with two runs, two walks and a stolen base.
In 86 games with Gwinnett this season, Bethancourt is hitting .273/.296/.404. He also spent a few weeks in the Major Leagues, serving as the Braves catcher while Evan Gattis was on the disabled list in July. He hit .240/.283/.260 in 13 games.
Bethancourt is expected to return to Atlanta when the Minor League season ends and Major League rosters expand next week.
• After meeting with Dr. David Altchek in New York on Tuesday, Gavin Floyd learned he will need to wait at least six more weeks before beginning to throw again. Floyd, who has been sidelined since he broke his right olecranon (elbow) in June, was given clearance to increase his exercise program.
• Phil Gosselin, who has been at the Major League level since July 19, was named the utility player of the 2014 International League Postseason All-Star team. Joey Terdoslavich, who will likely return to the Majors when rosters expand next week, was named the International League Batter of the Week on Monday. Terdoslavich batted .385 with five home runs and a 1.491 OPS in seven games from Aug. 18-24.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.