Braves top scouts watch Tebow showcase

Braves top scouts watch Tebow showcase

ATLANTA -- Further proving they are not willing to leave any stone unturned during their rebuilding process, the Braves sent their top two scouts to evaluate Tim Tebow during a workout that was staged on Tuesday at the University of Southern California.

Braves scouting director Brian Bridges and special assistant Roy Clark evaluated Tebow as the former quarterback attempted to prove the athleticism that helped him win a Heisman trophy and play in the National Football League might translate to the baseball diamond.

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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.

Vizcaino lands on DL with shoulder inflammation

Vizcaino lands on DL with shoulder inflammation

ATLANTA -- Less than two weeks after returning to the Braves' bullpen from an oblique strain, Arodys Vizcaino landed on the disabled list again on Tuesday, this time with right shoulder inflammation.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said Vizcaino started feeling discomfort in his throwing shoulder after his most recent appearance on Aug. 24 vs. the D-backs. But with the DL move being made retroactive to last week, Snitker added the reliever will likely be able to return when he's eligible to be activated on Sept. 9.

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Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reliever Simmons makes it back to Majors

Reliever Simmons makes it back to Majors

ATLANTA -- Shae Simmons still has some limitations, but after spending the past 18 months recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery, the Braves' reliever has realized his goal to return to the Major League level.

Before Tuesday night's series opener against the Padres at Turner Field, the Braves recalled Simmons and fellow right-handed pitcher John Gant from Triple-A Gwinnett. Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Brandon Cunniff was optioned 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.

Inbox: Will Braves call up Albies?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from Atlanta fans

Inbox: Will Braves call up Albies?

Will the Braves bring Ozzie Albies up when the rosters expand?
-- John F., Macon, Ga.

As I indicated with the story written this past weekend, Albies is not a lock to be added after Atlanta's roster expands on Thursday. In fact, right now I'd say it's questionable at best that we will see the highly regarded 19-year-old prospect at the big league level this season.

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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.

Giants hit 4 HRs to secure series win vs. Braves

Giants hit 4 HRs to secure series win vs. Braves

SAN FRANCISCO -- The first multihomer game of Joe Panik's career and an eight-run seventh inning on Sunday led the Giants to a 13-4 victory over the Braves and their first series win at AT&T Park since the All-Star break.

"It's great to take a series here; it's great to take any series," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We haven't had many of those since the break. It's good to get one."

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

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

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

Blair gets knocked around in return to Braves

Blair gets knocked around in return to Braves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Instead of providing an indication that the past two months have been beneficial, Aaron Blair returned to the Major League level and simply extended the frustrating stretch that led the Braves to demote him to Triple-A Gwinnett near the end of June.

Blair certainly did not have any reason to be encouraged after he allowed three home runs and completed just four innings during Sunday's 13-4 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. His shaky return enhanced doubts about the promising future he seemingly had when he entered this season as one of baseball's top pitching prospects.

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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.

Folty thrives while keeping emotions in check

Folty thrives while keeping emotions in check

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Foltynewicz has often been his own worst enemy, as he has too frequently allowed his emotions to negate his tremendous physical talents. But as the Braves' right-hander remained composed throughout Saturday's 3-1 win over the Giants, he once again proved he has the capability to establish himself as a top-flight starter.

"Everything was under control," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's just what he's capable of doing."

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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.

Kemp giving Braves lineup a big boost

Veteran's presence adds power, provides protection for Freeman

Kemp giving Braves lineup a big boost

SAN FRANCISCO -- After hitting a three-run home run in Saturday night's 3-1 win over the Giants at AT&T Park, a jovial Matt Kemp saw Freddie Freeman approaching his nearby locker and made sure the Braves first baseman heard him say, "Freddie doesn't need me, he's a great hitter. But I am making him a little better."

Actually, Kemp's presence has made the Braves' offense much better than it has been at any point over the course of the past two seasons. Atlanta has averaged 4.8 runs per game since Kemp arrived after being acquired from the Padres in exchange for Hector Olivera. In the 105 games before his arrival, the offense averaged 3.4 runs.

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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.

Albies, Fried among top prospect performers Sunday

Yankees No. 2 prospect collects first four-hit game for Tampa; No. 7 allows 1 hit in 5 scoreless

Albies, Fried among top prospect performers Sunday

Shortstop Gleyber Torres and left-hander Justus Sheffield, two of the New York Yankees' key prospect acquisitions from the non-waiver Trade Deadline, have made strong impressions as teammates on Class A Advanced Tampa. On Sunday, the duo paced their new club to an 8-2 victory over Brevard County, with Torres leading the offense with four hits and Sheffield tossing five scoreless innings.

Making his fifth start for Tampa after coming over from the Indians along with Clint Frazier (Yankees' No. 1) as part of the Andrew Miller trade, Sheffield, the Yankees' No. 7 prospect, tossed three hitless frames before yielding a knock to begin the fourth. It was the only hit allowed in five innings by the No. 87 overall prospect, who walked three and struck out five while throwing 53 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

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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.

Foltynewicz's strong start leads Braves to win

Foltynewicz's strong start leads Braves to win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Kemp launched a three-run home run deep over the center-field fence and Mike Foltynewicz continued his mastery of the Giants this year as the Braves halted San Francisco's brief winning streak with a 3-1 victory Saturday.

"It always feels good to put your team up, especially coming in here," Kemp said. "It's good to quiet the crowd a little bit. They get riled up when they're up. But if you can get on the board and get them down, they'll back off you a little bit. Folty pitched an excellent game. We gave as many runs as he needed and he did his thing."

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

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

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

Anderson among top prospect performers Saturday

Top Red Sox pitcher impresses in second start; Twins' No. 3 continues hot streak

Anderson among top prospect performers Saturday

It hasn't taken Jason Groome long to reward the Red Sox for rolling the dice on him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

Making his second professional start on Saturday, Groome, No. 35 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, allowed one earned run and struck out five of the nine hitters he faced in two innings for Boston's Gulf Coast League affiliate in a contest against the Twins'.

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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.

Braves debating September callup for Albies

Braves debating September callup for Albies

SAN FRANCISCO -- Braves executives will meet with the coaching staff within the next few days to discuss which players will be added when the active roster can expand beyond 25 players in September. Ozzie Albies stands as the most intriguing candidate, but there is no guarantee the highly regarded prospect will end this season at the big league level.

Dating back to the start of Spring Training, there has been an assumption the Braves would spend at least a portion of this season allowing Albies and Dansby Swanson to get a taste of the big leagues together and prepare to open the 2017 season as Atlanta's double-play tandem.

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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 can't overcome Giants' early outburst

Braves can't overcome Giants' early outburst

SAN FRANCISCO -- Creating offense in the first inning has been a particularly difficult task for the Giants this year. That changed Friday, as Brandon Belt and Joe Panik tallied a pair of run-scoring base hits in the bottom of the first that set the stage for a 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park.

San Francisco entered the series opener with the fewest runs (44) in the first inning in the Majors this season. But after Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford hit consecutive infield singles with two outs, the Giants finally came through. Belt launched a base hit to center field to score Posey, and Panik lined a ball down the left-field line to score two more. Angel Pagan then added a two-run home run in the second, and thanks to seven scoreless frames from Jeff Samardzija, the Giants cruised to just their third series-opening victory since the All-Star break.

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

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

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

Allard among top prospect performers Friday

Indians' No. 7 outduels Blue Jays' No. 17 in impressive matchup

Allard among top prospect performers Friday

Fans in attendance for Friday's matchup between Class A Lake County and Lansing were treated to a pitchers' duel between starters Triston McKenzie and Ryan Borucki, who combined for 11 scoreless innings and 18 strikeouts. Ultimately, it was McKenzie, the Indians' No. 7 prospect, who recorded the win as the Captains shut out Lansing, 3-0.

Making his fifth start for Lake County, McKenzie surrendered just two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings. He struck out nine, throwing 57 of his 84 pitches for strikes.

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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.

Braves ready to audition youth in rotation

Blair to return for start vs. Giants; more prospects to follow in September

Braves ready to audition youth in rotation

SAN FRANCISCO -- Had everything gone according to plan, the Braves would have spent a significant portion of this season filling their starting rotation with young arms who have the potential to shape the club's future. The script was altered as injuries and growing pains forced them to recently provide starts to the likes of Roberto Hernandez and Joel De La Cruz.

Hernandez's tenure with Atlanta lasted just two starts, and De La Cruz's rotation stint might have concluded as he was hit early and often during Friday night's 7-0 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. Now the Braves appear ready to spend the month of September evaluating a rotation that will once again include Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair and at least one of their other young starters who have the capability to begin next season at the big league level.

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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 bullpen being taxed since All-Star break

Braves bullpen being taxed since All-Star break

PHOENIX -- After Matt Wisler delivered eight strong innings while making his first big league start in nearly a month during Thursday night's 3-1 win over the D-backs, Braves manager Brian Snitker thanked his young hurler for providing much-needed rest to a bullpen that has been taxed by the starting rotation's second-half woes.

Wisler became the first Braves pitcher to complete as many as seven innings since Mike Foltynewicz and Julio Teheran did so on July 16 and 17. The residual effect of a long stretch of abbreviated starts has been felt by Atlanta's bullpen, which entered Friday having completed the second-most relief innings (140 2/3 innings) in Major League Baseball since the All-Star break.

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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.

Wisler flirts with no-no to lift Braves to series split

Wisler flirts with no-no to lift Braves to series split

PHOENIX -- After making his last four starts with Triple-A Gwinnett, Matt Wisler returned to the Majors with a dominant performance. The Braves right-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a 3-1 win over the D-backs on Thursday night at Chase Field.

Wisler (5-11) lost four of his five starts in July, posting an 8.89 ERA for the month, before being demoted. He returned with eight innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Atlanta scored a pair of runs in the third and Gordon Beckham added an RBI double in the sixth, salvaging a split in the four-game series with Arizona.

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Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

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 takes scary tumble, stays in game

Braves first baseman has sore lower back after win over D-backs

Freeman takes scary tumble, stays in game

PHOENIX -- Freddie Freeman was initially happy he avoided a head injury. After getting a chance to watch the replay of his scary fall over a railing during the second inning of Thursday's 3-1 win over the D-backs, the Braves first baseman also felt fortunate he didn't snap his back.

"I was just glad I was able to get my head out of the way and let the back take the brunt of it," Freeman said. "I'm still young enough that it's not going to hurt too much."

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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.

Bow to the fielding majesty of Dansby Swanson

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Bow to the fielding majesty of Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson's  MLB scouting report says a lot about his offense. He's a "a very good hitter," has the potential to be an "on-base machine," should have the "ability to steal bases ..."

But what about his defense? Will he be a Dandy Swanson at shortstop or just another regular ole Dansby Swanson? in the second inning of Thursday's D-backs-Braves game, we learned of his destiny.

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Wisler shows mental toughness in stellar start

Braves pleased with changes in young pitcher since demotion

Wisler shows mental toughness in stellar start

PHOENIX -- Matt Wisler flirted with history as he made his first big league start in nearly a month. More important, the Braves hurler provided a glimpse of his mental strength as he returned from his demotion to the Minors and produced a gem in Thursday night's 3-1 win over the D-backs at Chase Field.

"From the get-go, he just looked really focused," manager Brian Snitker said. "He was locked in and it was just like he was on a mission."

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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 executive witnesses fruits of his labor

Ryan has ties to many players in series against D-backs

Braves executive witnesses fruits of his labor

PHOENIX -- Billy Ryan had a unique perspective as the Braves and D-backs played a four-game series at Chase Field this week. Ryan spent four seasons as Arizona's assistant general manager before becoming Atlanta's director of baseball operations.

"It's kind of an interesting place to be," Ryan said. "You have ties to a lot of the players that are playing in the game. It's exciting to see so many of the players who have changed hands between these two teams go up against each other."

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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.

Touissant, Ruiz among top prospect performers Thursday

Brewers' No. 2 prospect notches first multi-homer game for Sky Sox

Touissant, Ruiz among top prospect performers Thursday

Lewis Brinson seems to be enjoying life in the Brewers' organization.

The No. 18 overall prospect (Brewers' No. 2) has done nothing but rake since he was acquired from Texas before the non-waiver Trade Deadline and that theme continued Thursday night with a pair of homers in Triple-A Colorado Springs' 5-0 win over Oklahoma City.

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

Braves rally to tie it in ninth, but fall in 11 vs. D-backs

Braves rally to tie it in ninth, but fall in 11 vs. D-backs

PHOENIX -- After blowing a four-run lead in the ninth inning, the D-backs came back to beat the Braves in the 11th, as Brandon Drury drove in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in a 10-9 win on Wednesday night at Chase Field. Jake Lamb hit a one-out double to center, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then came home to score the winning run on Drury's bases-loaded sac fly off Braves reliever Jose Ramirez (1-1).

"We had it all the way," D-backs manager Chip Hale joked. "Very proud of the guys for battling."

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Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

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.

Francoeur headed to Marlins in 3-team deal

Braves get utility man Moore from Texas, catcher Foley from Miami

Francoeur headed to Marlins in 3-team deal

PHOENIX -- The Braves have discussed bringing Jeff Francoeur back next year, but the veteran outfielder will spend the remainder of this season with the Marlins.

Extending the practice they've used during their rebuilding process of trying to get value for some of the veterans, the Braves participated in a three-team trade Wednesday that sent Francoeur and cash considerations to the Marlins. Atlanta gained a pair of Minor Leaguers -- utility man Dylan Moore from the Rangers and catcher Matt Foley.

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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 struggling since coming off DL

Braves ace not the same since lat strain and infection sidelined him

Teheran struggling since coming off DL

PHOENIX -- Julio Teheran might need more time to distance himself from the right lat strain that forced him to spend a portion of this month on the disabled list. But regardless of what transpires over the next few weeks, the Braves ace will still have to wonder what might have happened had these past two months not been plagued by bothersome ailments.

Teheran held himself accountable after he forced the Braves to come back from a significant deficit during Wednesday night's 10-9, 11-inning loss to the D-backs at Chase Field. Making just his second start since returning from the disabled list, the All-Star hurler simply was not as polished as he had consistently been within this season's first three months.

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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 come from behind, derail D-backs

Braves come from behind, derail D-backs

PHOENIX -- The Braves nearly let an early lead go to waste for the second straight night. However, Matt Kemp didn't allow that to happen. The left fielder hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning, the key blow in a 7-4 comeback win over the D-backs on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

After Atlanta loading the bases with two outs against Arizona reliever Jake Barrett, Kemp sent a double to right field to plate a pair of runs, with a third scoring on an error by Mitch Haniger to turn the Braves' one-run deficit into a two-run lead. Jose Ramirez earned the win, helping the Atlanta bullpen combine for 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

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Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. He covered the D-backs on Tuesday.

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.

Enjoying Braves tenure, Kemp comes through

Veteran outfielder's go-ahead two-run double first big hit with new club

Enjoying Braves tenure, Kemp comes through

PHOENIX -- Matt Kemp might never again be the MVP-caliber player he was just a few years ago with the Dodgers, but as he continues to acquaint himself to a new environment, the veteran outfielder has allowed the Braves to remain confident they were wise to gamble on his remaining capabilities.

After the Braves stranded runners at a frustratingly alarming pace through the first seven innings at Chase Field on Tuesday night, Kemp delivered the decisive bases-clearing double with two outs in the eighth in a 7-4 win over the D-backs.

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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.

Wentz among top prospect performers Wednesday

Red Sox flamethrower notches 10 K's with career-high seven frames

Wentz among top prospect performers Wednesday

Michael Kopech may be the hottest pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball these days as he continues to shut down opposing lineups with a plethora of strikeouts.

The 20-year-old was on fire once again Wednesday, leading Class A Advanced Salem to a 9-1 win over Potomac.

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

Scuffling Vizcaino feeling 'rusty' since return

Roughed up twice in past week, former Braves closer trying to regain form

Scuffling Vizcaino feeling 'rusty' since return

PHOENIX -- Arodys Vizcaino entered June as a dependable closer who was being considered a possible candidate to represent the Braves at the All-Star Game. But as the season's final month approaches, Vizcaino has made it difficult to even consider him a reliable middle-relief option.

While blowing a three-run seventh inning lead during Monday night's 9-8 loss to the D-backs, Vizcaino surrendered four runs for the second time in three appearances since returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list. It would be easy to simply blame his struggles on rust if he had not started to decline as June elapsed.

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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's 2 homers aren't enough in Arizona

Freeman's 2 homers aren't enough in Arizona

PHOENIX -- Paul Goldschmidt delivered a walk-off homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth, lifting the D-backs to a 9-8 win over the Braves in the opener of a four-game series on Monday night at Chase Field.

"I think the tendency in a tied game or extra innings is try to hit home runs, and we've played some extra-inning games and that just has not worked out for me," Goldschmidt said. "I was fortunate to get a pitch up and get it out of there."

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

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. He covered the D-backs on Monday.

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