Inciarte to begin rehab, could return Saturday

Speedy outfielder has been out with left hamstring strain since April 8

Inciarte to begin rehab, could return Saturday

ATLANTA -- Ender Inciarte could return to the Braves' lineup in time to face his former D-backs teammates this weekend, and Gordon Beckham may not be far behind.

Inciarte will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday and could rejoin Atlanta's lineup for Saturday's game against the D-backs. Beckham will join Gwinnett on Saturday to begin a rehab assignment that could set him up to be activated from the disabled list for Tuesday's series opener against the Phillies.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scoring struggles continue as Braves fall to Mets

Scoring struggles continue as Braves fall to Mets

NEW YORK -- Their Sunday stumble against the Giants squarely behind them, the Mets wasted no time Monday returning to their winning ways. Bartolo Colon delivered eight shutout innings, and the Mets backed him with three first-inning homers in a 4-1 win over the Braves.

David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda all homered in the first inning off Mike Foltynewicz, whom the Braves recalled from the Minors prior to the game.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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

Braves' Honorary Bat Girl has amazing outlook

Fighting cancer for a third time, Alabama native Thomas' spirit is strong

Carol Thomas has maintained a strong spirit and resolve while battling breast cancer for a third time and continuing to provide guidance to her two children. Her determination and positive outlook has earned her the chance to serve as the Braves' Honorary Bat Girl during Sunday's Mother's Day matinee against the D-backs at Turner Field.

Thomas will tour Turner Field and meet some of the Braves' players and wives while serving as the Honorary Bat Girl, an honor that Major League Baseball instituted in 2009 to raise additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative that is annually celebrated at big league stadiums on Mother's Day.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fredi, Folty optimistic despite shaky debut

Young right-hander allows three homers in first inning vs. Mets

Fredi, Folty optimistic despite shaky debut

NEW YORK -- One ugly inning did not alter the Braves' hope that Mike Foltynewicz will prove more effective than Bud Norris was in their starting rotation. But his rocky first frame was a reminder that Foltynewicz has not yet distanced himself from some of the struggles that haunted him during frustrating 2015 rookie season.

On Monday, Foltynewicz understandably had to battle the added excitement of making his first Major League start since undergoing emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in September. But it did not take the former prospect long to be humbled as he surrendered home runs to three of the first five batters he faced in a 4-1 loss to the Mets.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves option Peterson, recall Foltynewicz amid moves

Braves option Peterson, recall Foltynewicz amid moves

NEW YORK -- After having a chance to assess their offensive woes this past weekend, the Braves decided it was time to alter their roster by adding three veteran Minor Leaguers who have previously spent some time at the big league level.

The Braves made a flurry of moves on Monday as they selected the contracts of Reid Brignac, Matt Tuiasosopo and Chase d'Arnaud from Triple-A Gwinnett. Jace Peterson, who has opened the past two seasons as Atlanta's starting second baseman, was optioned to Gwinnett and outfielder Drew Stubbs was designated for assignment just one month after it was determined he was a better fit than the since-released Michael Bourn.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez talks Peterson's future, roster moves

Braves manager: 'Jace is a big part of our organization'

Gonzalez talks Peterson's future, roster moves

NEW YORK -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted it was not easy to tell Jace Peterson he had been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. But at the same time, Gonzalez realized that his former starting second baseman was not providing much value at the Major League level, especially as Peterson had primarily been serving as a backup over the past two weeks.

"Jace is a big part of our organization," Gonzalez said. "Why sit him on the end of the bench and play him just twice a week? He needs to go down there, get 40-50 at-bats and string together 10-15 games to see what he has. He hasn't really had a chance to play steady."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnson, O'Flaherty receive NL champs rings

Johnson, O'Flaherty receive NL champs rings

NEW YORK -- Braves veterans Kelly Johnson and Eric O'Flaherty each received a nice gift on Monday afternoon, when Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson entered the visitors' clubhouse at Citi Field with two 2015 National League championship rings.

"Any ring you get, you're excited and happy to get it," Johnson said. "It's a gorgeous ring. Who knows how many opportunities you'll have to wear it. But it's something you can always look at and know that it's special. We'd all like to have a World Series ring, but a National League ring is not too bad either."

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Swanson on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Swanson on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

Dansby Swanson and Andrew Benintendi were viewed as two of the top college bats available in the 2015 Draft before going to the D-backs and Red Sox with the Nos. 1 and 7 overall picks, respectively. Swanson -- now with the Braves -- and Benintendi have blown past expectations so far in their first full pro seasons, and after starring at the plate last week, they both land on the latest edition of MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week (April 25-May 1).

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

Teheran, Markakis lead Braves to series split

Teheran, Markakis lead Braves to series split

CHICAGO -- Nick Markakis hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the 10th inning Sunday to lift the Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Cubs, who had rallied to tie the game in the ninth. With the win, Atlanta snapped a seven-game losing streak against Chicago.

Daniel Castro singled with one out in the Braves' 10th against Hector Rondon, and reached third on Mallex Smith's single. Castro then scored on Markakis' fly ball to left.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

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

Mallex rewards Fredi's faith with 3-hit game

Speedy center fielder executes pivotal hit-and-run in decisive 10th inning

Mallex rewards Fredi's faith with 3-hit game

CHICAGO -- While some in the Braves organization have questioned the wisdom of allowing Mallex Smith to continue taking his lumps at the Major League level, manager Fredi Gonzalez kept the faith and preached the need to be patient with the talented young center fielder.

Smith rewarded Gonzalez's efforts at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon, when he highlighted his second consecutive three-hit game with a clutch single that positioned Daniel Castro to score the decisive run for the Braves in a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Cubs.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Teheran returning to dominant form of late

Right-hander records 9 strikeouts in 7 shutout innings vs. potent Cubs lineup

Teheran returning to dominant form of late

CHICAGO -- Though it has never been wise to make firm declarations based on a small sample size, Julio Teheran's performance in his past two starts has certainly justified the enhanced confidence he has exhibited.

Feeding off the success he had while tossing seven strong innings against the Red Sox on Monday, Teheran encountered little trouble against a potent Cubs lineup in the Braves' 4-3, 10-inning win on Sunday at Wrigley Field. The right-hander retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced over seven scoreless innings and showed a little bit of that attitude he possessed before enduring frequent frustration last year.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Callup of Bonifacio delayed by technicality

Braves try to add utility man to roster, but can't until Saturday; Withrow optioned

Callup of Bonifacio delayed by technicality

CHICAGO -- Shortly after welcoming Emilio Bonifacio back to the Major League level on Sunday morning, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was given the uncomfortable task of informing the veteran utility player that he must return to the Minor Leagues for at least a few days because of a rule that Atlanta's front office had overlooked.

In an effort to replenish their bench by reverting back to a 12-man pitching staff, the Braves announced they had purchased Bonifacio's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioned right-handed reliever Chris Withrow to Gwinnett.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves' top prospects climbing through system

Swanson, Albies each a step closer to Majors

Braves' top prospects climbing through system

CHICAGO -- After spending the past few weeks showing why they rank as two of baseball's top prospects, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies will now take the next step toward potentially spending this season's second half together in Atlanta's lineup.

The Braves have promoted Swanson from Class A Advanced Carolina to Double-A Mississippi, and Albies from Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett. Both of these heralded prospects are expected to join their respective new teams on Saturday.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman silencing wrist concerns with surge

Freeman silencing wrist concerns with surge

CHICAGO -- As his frustrations mounted during this season's first few weeks, Freddie Freeman had trouble convincing nearly everyone, including his own father, that his previously injured right wrist was healthy. But those who have watched Freeman take swings over the course of the past week certainly haven't had any reason to be concerned about the wrist.

Now that he has seemingly escaped the most frustrating slump of his young career, Freeman admits that from a mental perspective, he was likely affected by the wrist ailment that hampered him during last season's final four months. But all seemed right in the Braves first baseman's world as he homered for the second time in three days during Friday's 6-1 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen struggles as Braves fall to Cubs

Bullpen struggles as Braves fall to Cubs

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rizzo smacked a tiebreaking RBI single with one out in the eighth inning and Matt Szczur followed with his first career grand slam to lift the Cubs to a 6-1 victory over the Braves on Friday at Wrigley Field. With the win, the Cubs are now 17-5 and off to their best start since the 1907 team was 18-4 in its first 22 games.

"In a game like today, you believe you're going to win it somehow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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

'Chipper rescues Freddie' bobblehead is real at last

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'Chipper rescues Freddie' bobblehead is real at last

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time -- specifically January, 2014 -- a Braves first baseman named Freddie Freeman got stuck in a traffic jam/snowstorm in Atlanta. He tweeted his distress, hoping someone would hear him, and lo and behold -- a knight in camo armor came to his rescue.

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Markakis makes mark with 4-hit game

Right fielder jumps on Boston's Buchholz to drive in 3 runs

Markakis makes mark with 4-hit game

BOSTON -- Nick Markakis entered Thursday's season-series finale against the Red Sox at Fenway Park with just one hit in the first three games of the four-game, home-and-home series, hitting .273 for the season.

While he had seen Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz plenty in his nine seasons in the American League East with the Orioles, Markakis had little to show for it. He was just 6-for-41 (.146) with three RBIs, seven walks and six strikeouts against the right-hander before the Braves' 5-3 win over Boston on Thursday.

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Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mallex, Markakis lead Braves to snap skid

Mallex, Markakis lead Braves to snap skid

BOSTON -- The Braves put together a steady offense against Clay Buchholz and salvaged the finale of a four-game series with the Red Sox by pulling out a 5-3 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night. The win snapped an eight-game losing skid for Atlanta.

"We did a lot of good stuff on the whole game -- pitching-wise, offensively," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's a good baseball game. It really is a good baseball game."

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Braves on Thursday.

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

The elements conspired against Pierzynski

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The elements conspired against Pierzynski

There are only nine catchers with 2,000 career hits, with five of them in the Hall of Fame, and a sixth likely joining them when Ivan Rodriguez makes the ballot next year. So when A.J. Pierzynski joined the second millenium club on Wednesday, it was a pretty stellar achievement. 

With the Fenway grass slick with rain on Thursday night, mother nature reasserted its dominance when Pierzynski tried to pick up this ball. It didn't end well for him. 

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Toussaint, Sims among top prospect performers Thursday

Pirates prospect continues to impress while Boston outfielder stays hot at the plate

Toussaint, Sims among top prospect performers Thursday

With Jameson Taillon's impressive start to the 2016 season, you would never suspect that he hadn't pitched competitively since '13.

The Pirates' No. 4 prospect (No. 51 overall) improved to 2-0 on Thursday, firing seven innings of one-run ball for Triple-A Indianapolis in a win against Norfolk. Taillon scattered five hits and issued two walks in the outing, which was his longest of the season for the Indians.

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

Freeman ends Braves' homerless drought

Freeman ends Braves' homerless drought

BOSTON -- While Freddie Freeman's home run leading off the eighth inning gave the Braves their third run in a 9-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, it also provided a bit of a reprieve for the team.

The home run snapped a streak of 15 games without a home run, going back to April 10 against the Cardinals. It was the longest stretch without a home run in team history since the Boston Braves were homerless in 16 games from Sept. 3-16, 1946. It was the longest by the Atlanta Braves since a 14-game drought in '70. Three home runs in the first 20 games were the fewest for the Braves in that span to start a season since the '31 team also had three, and it was the longest stretch by any team without a home run since the '91 Cardinals went homerless in 18 games.

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Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Catcher Pierzynski reaches 2,000 career hits

39-year-old 9th player to achieve milestone while primarily serving as backstop

Catcher Pierzynski reaches 2,000 career hits

BOSTON -- Before the Braves' 9-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, A.J. Pierzynski said he was looking forward to getting his next hit -- so he could stop answering questions about it.

Pierzynski, in his 19th season, had been on the doorstep of his 2,000th career hit since going 3-for-4 on Friday against the Mets.

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Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez among top prospect performers Wednesday

Indians' No. 3 notches three extra-base hits, Rangers' No. 29 prospect strikes out 11 in one-hit shutout

Sanchez among top prospect performers Wednesday

Bobby Bradley is on a roll right now, and his hot hitting continued on Wednesday.

Baseball's No. 90 overall prospect (Indians No. 3) helped Class A Advanced Lynchburg to a 12-6 win over Winston-Salem by going 3-for-5 with a home run, a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Bradley's three-run homer was part of a 10-run fifth inning for the Hillcats, who erased a 4-1 deficit.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman homers, but Norris struggles in loss

Freeman homers, but Norris struggles in loss

BOSTON -- The red-hot Dustin Pedroia laced two homers, including a grand slam high off of Pesky's Pole in right field, to lead the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory over the Braves on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Red Sox Sox manager John Farrell thinks Pedroia might have even called the landing spot of the slam in mid-sprint.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Braves on Wednesday.

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

Braves call up Gant, option Weber to Triple-A

Atlanta's No. 22 prospect allows 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings Wednesday after promotion

Braves call up Gant, option Weber to Triple-A

BOSTON -- Before the Braves fell, 9-4, to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday, Atlanta optioned right-hander Ryan Weber to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for right-hander John Gant.

Gant, the Braves' No. 22 prospect who made his big league debut this season, had appeared in three games spanning three innings for the Braves before Wednesday's promotion. In three appearances, all starts, for Gwinnett, Gant was 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA, giving up six runs on eight hits with seven walks and 18 strikeouts over 14 2/3 innings.

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Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves can't pounce vs. Price or contain Red Sox

Braves can't pounce vs. Price or contain Red Sox

ATLANTA -- David Price matched a career-high 14 strikeouts and tossed eight strong innings with the benefit of the early lead Travis Shaw provided when he highlighted a five-RBI game with a three-run, first-inning homer in the Red Sox's 11-4 win over the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night.

Price struck out each of the final five batters he faced and recorded eight of his final nine outs via strikeout. The former American League Cy Young Award winner surrendered three consecutive singles and issued a walk with two outs in the first inning before escaping a bases-loaded threat by striking out Drew Stubbs.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.

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