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Kotchman returns from disabled list

Kotchman returns from disabled list

ATLANTA -- With Casey Kotchman healthy and the Braves scheduled to play just three more games in an American League park, Barbaro Canizares has been forced to put an end to his surprise stint at the Major League level.

While activating Kotchman from the disabled list before Tuesday's series opener against the Reds, the Braves also announced that Canizares had been optioned back to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Sometimes clumsy with his footwork, Canizares had developed a defensive reputation that provided indication that he'd have a tough time making it to the Majors. But with all of their first base options hobbled by injuries, the Braves made an abrupt decision to allow the Cuban first baseman to realize his dream.

Less than three hours after learning he was going to the Majors last Thursday, Canizares found himself starting at first and batting cleanup. While his debut may have been memorable, his contributions weren't significant enough to give the Braves reason to keep him around to at least serve as a designated hitter during this weekend's series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

During his short stint with Atlanta, the 29-year-old first baseman went 4-for-17 with a double and four strikeouts.

"He swings the bat pretty good," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who had limited looks at Canizares before last week. "He played first OK. He got the job done."

Kotchman, who had been sidelined since May 31, tested his previously strained right calf during a two-game Minor League rehab stint with Gwinnett this past weekend. He gained confidence in his leg strength on Sunday, when he scored from second base on a single.

"It's always hard to miss one game, let alone having to sit and not contribute for 15 [days]," said Kotchman, who entered Tuesday with a .277 batting average and notched a single in his first at-bat against Cincinnati. "But this is something you don't want to have come up again and have to miss more time. So you just try to get it as good as you can and be able to play."

Along with welcoming Kotchman back, Cox also put Yunel Escobar back in his lineup on Tuesday. After making two mental mistakes during the first two innings of Sunday afternoon's game against the Orioles, Escobar was benched.

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

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