Miller a favorite to be an NL All-Star for Braves

Miller a favorite to be an NL All-Star for Braves

ATLANTA -- The Braves did not have a position player elected to start during this year's All-Star Game. But Shelby Miller might get some good news when the National League pitchers and reserves are announced on Monday night.

Given his status as one of this year's top starting pitchers, Miller stands as the strongest candidate to represent the Braves at this year's All-Star Game. There is also at least a chance Cameron Maybin, Andrelton Simmons or Jason Grilli have done enough to at least warrant consideration for an All-Star selection.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller, Braves fall late to Phillies

Miller, Braves fall late to Phillies

ATLANTA -- After Cole Hamels and Shelby Miller produced a pitching matchup that lived up to expectations on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field, Ryan Howard helped the Phillies claim a 4-0, 10-inning win over the Braves courtesy of the sacrifice fly he produced against Dana Eveland.

Before Nick Masset loaded the bases with none out in the 10th inning, this was a pitchers' duel being waged between two teams that had recently gone in different directions. The Phillies had lost six straight and the Braves had won their past four games.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's get Kurcz from Braves for int'l bonus slot

A's get Kurcz from Braves for int'l bonus slot

The Braves and A's completed a trade Monday, with Oakland receiving right-handed pitcher Aaron Kurcz in exchange for the International Bonus Pool Slot No. 113.

Kurcz, 24, went 4-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 31 appearances out of the bullpen for Triple-A Gwinnett this season. He was acquired by Atlanta in a deal with the Red Sox in December.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wisler, Braves hit road to take on Brewers

Wisler, Braves hit road to take on Brewers

For the second straight game, Atlanta faces a starting pitcher on the trading block, as the Brewers turn to Kyle Lohse for the first of a three-game series against the Braves. Atlanta counters with Matt Wisler, who will be making his fourth Major League start.

Milwaukee has been one of the teams tied most heavily as a seller at this year's July 31 Trade Deadline given their last-place standing in the National League Central, but a recent eight-game winning streak makes them the hottest team in the NL.

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

Braves DFA Masset, Eveland

Atlanta recall Vizcaino, Carpenter from Triple-A Gwinnett

Braves DFA Masset, Eveland

ATLANTA -- The Braves have designated relievers Nick Masset and Dana Eveland for assignment and promoted Arodys Vizcaino and David Carpenter from Triple-A Gwinnett after their 4-0, 10-inning loss to the Phillies on Sunday.

Vizcaino recently came off of an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and has posted a 5.62 ERA in eight innings this season throughout the Minors.

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

Wisler adjusting nicely to life in the Majors

Wisler adjusting nicely to life in the Majors

ATLANTA -- With three starts under his belt at the Major League level, rookie right-hander Matt Wisler is adjusting to the big leagues with a "business as usual" approach.

With a 2.60 ERA and 2-1 record thus far, it's safe to say the early returns of that approach have been successful.

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

Braves light up Phillies early with big innings

Braves light up Phillies early with big innings

ATLANTA -- Cameron Maybin finished a triple shy of the cycle and the Braves provided Alex Wood more than enough support with two four-run innings against Kevin Correia during Saturday night's 9-5 win over the Phillies at Turner Field.

Kelly Johnson produced a two-run single in the four-run first and chased Correia with an RBI single in the four-run fourth inning that also included a Nick Markakis two-run double. The early offensive support was welcomed by Wood, who was fortunate to allow just four runs while surrendering 10 hits over six innings.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maybin 'having a blast' playing in Atlanta

Center fielder falls triple short of cycle as Braves race past Phillies

Maybin 'having a blast' playing in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Cameron Maybin's long-awaited breakout season has been influenced by good health and the immediate connection he has drawn with Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. But the veteran center fielder has also been rejuvenated by the opportunity to play approximately three hours south of his North Carolina home for the team he grew up watching.

Making the most of the opportunity to play before friends and family members who were in attendance for Saturday night's 9-5 win over the Phillies, Maybin finished a triple shy of the cycle and further strengthened the argument that he has been the Braves' most valuable player.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves manager: Simmons should be All-Star

Gonzalez calls shortstop a 'special, special guy'; NL reserves revealed Monday

Braves manager: Simmons should be All-Star

ATLANTA -- In Friday night's 2-1 win over the Phillies, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons did something amazing in the field. Again.

It's become a routine sight at Turner Field over the past 3 1/2 seasons. So routine in fact, that Simmons' throw to second from deep in the outfield foul territory to gun down Cameron Rupp went largely unnoticed.

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

McKirahan could return to Braves on July 20

Suspended reliever starts rehab stint; Vizcaino likely to get another outing

McKirahan could return to Braves on July 20

ATLANTA -- Left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan was assigned to begin his suspension rehab with Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. If McKirahan remains healthy over the next few weeks, he will likely rejoin Atlanta's bullpen July 20.

McKirahan is nearing the end of his 80-game performance-enhancing-drug suspension that began April 18. As long as none of the Braves' games are postponed, the suspension will expire after the July 19 game against the Cubs.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Long story short: Homers win it for Braves

Gomes, Uribe go deep to provide club with much-needed power

Long story short: Homers win it for Braves

ATLANTA -- During the offseason, the Braves front office made a conscious decision to go to a contact-oriented approach offensively, leading to a team that is last in the Majors in home runs.

But Friday night in the series opener against the Phillies at Turner Field, Atlanta powered its way to a 2-1 victory with home runs from left fielder Jonny Gomes and third baseman Juan Uribe.

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

Uribe ends duel with one mighty slash

Uribe ends duel with one mighty slash

The Braves entered Friday's series opener with the Phillies as Major League Baseball's worst home run hitting team, but the long ball proved to be the difference as Jonny Gomes and Juan Uribe both connected off of Phillies starter Adam Morgan to lead Atlanta to a 2-1 win.

The homers backed up yet another solid home performance from Julio Teheran, who allowed just one unearned run over seven innings. Teheran was far from flawless, as he worked around Philadelphia baserunners throughout the evening, but still managed to lower his home ERA to 2.04.

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Todd Zolecki has been the Phillies beat reporter for MLB.com since 2009, and has been covering the Phillies since 2003.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banuelos facing an innings limit

Despite rookie's strong debut vs. Scherzer, Braves proceeding cautiously post-Tommy John surgery

Banuelos facing an innings limit

ATLANTA -- Manny Banuelos will be restricted by an innings limit because of the significant caution the Yankees took as he returned from Tommy John surgery last year. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said no definite plans have been set for the rookie left-hander, who produced a stellar Major League debut while matching up against Max Scherzer in Thursday night's 2-1 win over the Nationals.

"I know there is a number out there, but I think if you follow it every individual is different," Gonzalez said. "I think with every case you have to be willing to do something different. But nobody has set a shutdown date or anything like that."

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Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the club since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vizcaino nearing return to Braves bullpen

Pitcher's PED suspension concludes at end of Friday's game

Vizcaino nearing return to Braves bullpen

ATLANTA -- Arodys Vizcaino could join the Braves bullpen within the next few days.

Triple-A Gwinnett activated Vizcaino Friday after he completed a rehab assignment, but with Atlanta playing its 80th game of the season Friday against the Phillies, he could join Atlanta as soon as Saturday, although he's thrown just seven innings this season at or below the Double-A level.

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

Braves add two highly touted international free agents

Team agrees to terms with pair of 16-year-olds from Dominican Republic

ATLANTA -- The Braves agreed to terms with two International free agents from the Dominican Republic on Friday, shortstop Derian Cruz and outfielder Cristian Pache.

Both 16-year-old players will report to the Braves' Dominican Academy.

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

Braves sink Scherzer with walk-off in ninth

Braves sink Scherzer with walk-off in ninth

ATLANTA -- It took a fortunate hop, but the Braves found a way to conquer Max Scherzer, courtesy of a one-out, walk-off single that Cameron Maybin bounced over the third-base bag to conclude Thursday night's 2-1 win over the Nationals at Turner Field.

Scherzer entered the ninth having retired 10 straight batters, going back to Andrelton Simmons' fifth-inning RBI single. But the tide turned when Pedro Ciriaco opened the bottom of the ninth with an infield single. Two batters later, Maybin bounced his game-winning hit over the third-base bag and into left field. Against Washington manager Matt Williams' wishes, the umpires didn't review the play because it was a ruling that occurred in front of the bag.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maybin makes most of shot at redemption

Maybin makes most of shot at redemption

ATLANTA -- Cameron Maybin once again displayed his accountability and professionalism when he said that he was embarrassed that he had put his Braves teammates in a position where they nearly lost the opportunity to conquer Max Scherzer and the Nationals.

Maybin's inability to secure Bryce Harper's sharp liner to begin the seventh inning resulted in a double and led to a run that erased the possibility of Manny Banuelos earning a win in his Major League debut. But two innings later, the center fielder delivered the fortune-filled walk-off single that doomed Scherzer and provided the Braves a 2-1 win over the Nationals.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman confirms he's out until after break

Freeman confirms he's out until after break

ATLANTA -- After spending the past couple of weeks dealing with pain and frustration, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has conceded that he has no choice but to rest his injured right wrist until after the All-Star break.

Freeman has been sidelined since June 18 with a bone bruise and aggravated ligaments in his right wrist. Though it has been assumed for more than a week that he would be sidelined through the break, it is still too early to pinpoint exactly when he will be healthy enough to return to the Braves' lineup.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Banuelos enjoys scoreless debut, cramps and all

Banuelos enjoys scoreless debut, cramps and all

ATLANTA -- Faced with the challenge of making his Major League debut against Max Scherzer on Thursday night at Turner Field, Manny Banuelos had no trouble maintaining his poise and showing why he was once one of baseball's top pitching prospects.

Everything seemed to be going better than Banuelos could have expected. But in the process of crafting an impressive debut that helped the Braves claim a 2-1 win over the Nationals, the 24-year-old left-hander was forced to make an unceremonious, sixth-inning exit because he started to be undone by cramps in his left calf and fingers.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves make 3 trades for bonus pool money

Braves make 3 trades for bonus pool money

ATLANTA -- When this year's international signing period began on Thursday, the Braves agreed to provide seven-figure signing bonuses to two players listed among MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects. They then began positioning themselves to be aggressive yet again on next year's international market.

The Braves added a little more than $1.1 million to their international bonus pool via three trades on Thursday. Cody Martin was sent to the A's in exchange for the 53rd international bonus pool slot, which was set at $388,400. A few hours later, Atlanta traded two Minor Leaguers (right-handed pitcher Caleb Dirks and outfielder Jordan Paroubeck) to the Dodgers for the 87th bonus pool slot, which is valued at $249,000. The Braves ended the flurry by sending Minor League pitcher Garrett Fulenchek to the Rays for the 73rd ($299,000) and 103rd spots ($195,200).

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Close, non-reviewable call ends it in Atlanta

Close, non-reviewable call ends it in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- The Nationals stayed on the field longer than most losing teams Thursday night, after the Braves' 2-1 walk-off victory in the series finale at Turner Field, but only because of a close call on Cameron Maybin's game-winning hit down the third-base line.

Maybin went down in the zone and connected with a low slider from Max Scherzer with a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the ninth, driving the ball into the dirt just in front of home plate and then watched it bounce over Yunel Escobar and third base and land in foul territory past the bag.

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

Braves close to signing two top international prospects

Braves close to signing two top international prospects

The Braves are on the verge of adding a pair of high-profile international prospects to their Minor League system.

According to industry sources, the Braves agreed to $1.4 million signing bonus with outfielder Cristian Pache, ranked No. 10 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, and a $2 million bonus for infielder Derian Cruz, ranked No.24.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wisler logs firsts at plate while stifling Nats

Braves rookie adds to four-run fourth with first MLB hit, RBI; allows one hit over 5 1/3

Wisler logs firsts at plate while stifling Nats

ATLANTA -- Through the first three starts of his career, Braves right-hander Matt Wisler has displayed his tremendous potential, experienced some inevitable growing pains and proven that it is not always wise to intentionally walk a batter to bring him to the plate.

Along with pitching effectively into the sixth inning of Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Nationals at Turner Field, Wisler also notched his first career hit -- an RBI single off Doug Fister -- immediately after Eury Perez was intentionally walked with two outs during a four-run fourth inning.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves quench thirst for runs in 4-run 4th

Pierzynski, Uribe hit back-to-back homers; Wisler contributes first MLB hit, RBI

Braves quench thirst for runs in 4-run 4th

ATLANTA -- After spending most of the past two weeks struggling to score runs without Freddie Freeman in their lineup, the Braves recorded back-to-back home runs and celebrated Matt Wisler's first career hit during the four-run fourth inning that propelled them to Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Nationals.

"We haven't put a crooked number up in a while, and it was against a really, really tough pitcher in [Doug] Fister," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wisler, homers help Braves solve Nationals

Wisler, homers help Braves solve Nationals

ATLANTA -- Matt Wisler validated his status as a highly regarded pitching prospect and recorded his first career hit and RBI during a four-run fourth inning that propelled the Braves to Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Nationals at Turner Field.

Wisler's two-out RBI single capped the fourth inning, which was highlighted by the back-to-back homers A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe hit off Doug Fister. But most of the 22-year-old right-hander's most valuable contributions came in the process of limiting the Nationals to one hit, while recording six strikeouts and issuing five walks over 5 1/3 innings.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Smoltz first (and last?) to enter Hall post-TJ surgery

Smoltz first (and last?) to enter Hall post-TJ surgery

PHOENIX -- When John Smoltz is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26, he will be the first pitcher to go in having undergone elbow ligament replacement surgery -- today almost universally known as Tommy John surgery -- at some point during his career.

And Smoltz may very well be the last for a while, unless the lefty John himself is elected by a Veteran's Committee.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After long wait, Brigham dazzles in debut

Right-hander delivers three scoreless frames, strikes out four

After long wait, Brigham dazzles in debut

ATLANTA -- Few can understand all that Jake Brigham has experienced while spending the past nine years toiling in the Minor Leagues. But those who were aware of his long journey had no choice but to be thrilled with what he accomplished as he completed three scoreless innings while making his Major League debut for the Braves during Tuesday night's 6-1 loss to the Nationals.

"This was more than I could have ever imagined," Brigham said. "I hate that we lost because I'm walking around with a smile. But it was amazing and just a thrill."

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Four-run first inning spoils Miller's outing

Right-hander fans 10, but two-out hits loom large in loss

Four-run first inning spoils Miller's outing

ATLANTA -- As Braves right-hander Shelby Miller has positioned himself to at least be considered as the National League's starting pitcher at this year's All-Star Game, he has relied heavily on a two-seam fastball that expanded his repertoire late last season and allowed him to begin using his curveball less frequently.

Thus, it was easy to understand why much of the frustration Miller expressed after allowing four first-inning runs in Tuesday night's 6-1 loss to the Nationals was aimed toward his choice to throw a curveball to Clint Robinson, who belted the breaking pitch over the right-field wall for a two-run homer that highlighted the unexpected opening frame.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves unable to pick up shaky Miller

Braves unable to pick up shaky Miller

ATLANTA -- It did not take the Nationals long to extend their dominance of the Braves and halt the struggles they have had against Shelby Miller. A four-run first inning provided Jordan Zimmermann more than enough support as he led Washington to a 6-1 win on Tuesday night at Turner Field.

While Miller surrendered a season-high five runs -- four earned -- over five innings, Zimmmermann scattered five hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. The Nationals right-hander pitched around A.J. Pierzynski's second-inning leadoff double on the way to extending his consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Braves to 15 2/3 innings.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves have one eye on present, two on future

Flurry of roster moves indicates desire to compete

Braves have one eye on present, two on future

ATLANTA -- Though the Braves have spent this season's first three months living up to John Hart's description of not being "the prettiest girl at the dance," the countless acquisitions and roster moves the club's front office has made indicates that it is not willing to simply settle for routine disappointment this year, despite admittedly placing a greater focus on the future.

"I think we'll dance as hard as anybody and we won't sit out any songs," Braves assistant general manager John Coppolella said, playing off the analogy provided by Hart, who became the club's president of baseball operations in October.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.