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Walden on track to rejoin Braves on Tuesday

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PHOENIX -- Braves right-hander Jordan Walden began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday night as he continues his recovery from a strained left hamstring.

The Braves wanted Walden to make at least two appearances before mulling his return to the Majors. Walden threw two-thirds of an inning against Columbus, struck out three and allowed a two-run homer.

The skewed line was caused by a wild pitch on the third strike out, allowing the batter to take first base. He then gave up the homer and was taken out of the game.

Walden emerged from the appearance in good shape, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Saturday night before his club played the D-backs at Chase Field. He's scheduled to make his second appearance for Gwinnett on Sunday, Gonzalez added.

"He was supposed to pitch today, but now he's going to pitch tomorrow," Gonzalez said. "He pitched on Thursday and punched out the side and felt great. We just decided to give him another day."

If Walden gets through that outing, he'll probably rejoin the team on Tuesday night for the second game of a four-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field where he should resume his role in middle-inning relief for the Braves.

"The original plan was to pitch today and meet us in Colorado on Monday," Gonzalez said. "Now the plan has changed. He'll pitch tomorrow and hopefully meet us in Colorado on Tuesday. So he'll still meet us on the road. Just one day later."

Walden admitted when Atlanta placed him on the 15-day disabled list on May 10 that his hamstring had bothered him dating back to Spring Training. He decided to pitch through the pain, recording a 2.92 ERA, 19 strikeouts and six walks in 12 1/3 innings.

However, the discomfort became too much to bear when he gave up two earned runs in one inning against the Giants on May 4 at Turner Field. That outing snapped a streak of 10 consecutive scoreless appearances for Walden.

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.

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