Braves rookie slugger Evan Gattis should begin his minor league rehab assignment before Tuesday’s All-Star Game and hopefully return for the start of Atlanta’s interleague series against the White Sox in Chicago, where he’ll likely be used as the team’s designated hitter.
Rays ace Moore will replace Darvish on AL All-Star team; Pirates’ Alvarez to step in for Rockies’ Gonzalez in Home Run Derby
Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher Matt Moore was named to the American League All-Star team Thursday as an injury replacement for Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish.
Moore is 13-3 with a 3.44 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 107.1 innings over 19 starts. The 13 victories is tied for the AL lead and broke David Price’s franchise record for most before the All-Star Break.
Darvish was place on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained trapezius muscle.
Alvarez to replace Gonzalez in Derby: Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez was added to the National League team for the Home Run Derby on July 15 as an injury replacement for Carlos Gonzalez.
Alvarez has 23 home runs and will join Bobby Bonilla (1990), Barry Bonds (1992), Jason Bay (1995) and Andrew McCutchen (2012) as Pirates who have competed in the Derby.
Alvarez, who is a New York native, was selected to the team by Mets third baseman David Wright, who is the hometown captain for the NL team at Citi Field.
Gonzalez, who is an All-Star for the second time in his career, has withdrawn from the competition after suffering a sprained right middle finger earlier this week.
A-ROD WON'T TALK ABOUT BIOGENESIS: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez wants to return to the team in late July, provided he clears multiple hurdles in the coming days.
Rodriguez, according to CBS Sports, has told close friends and associates he’s aiming for a July 22 return, when the Yankees are in Arlington, Texas, to play the Rangers.
Before that can become reality, Rodriguez faces a meeting with MLB investigators about his alleged connection to the Miami Biogensis lab with reported ties to at least 15 active major leaguers, including All-Star Ryan Braun.
Per CBS, Rodriguez plans to invoke the “Jenkins Rule,” which is the baseball equivalent to taking the fifth. Reporter Jon Heyman cited “people involved in the case” in stating Rodriguez’s intention to give baseball executives the silent treatment. The Jenkins Rule is named for Ferguson Jenkins, the Hall of Fame pitcher who refused to answer questions about his recreational drug use.
That meeting is scheduled for Friday, an off day for Rodriguez from his current rehab assignment in a bid to return from offseason hip surgery.
Rodriguez expects to be elevated to Double-A Trenton next week, but he entered Thursday just 2 for 15.
ATLANTA — One after another, balls rocketed off Evan Gattis' bat Wednesday morning, at least a dozen landing far beyond the fences at Marlins Park.
It was the Braves rookie's first rounds of batting practice since straining an oblique just more than three weeks ago, but you wouldn't have known from watching. El Oso Blanco hasn't lost strength or bat speed.
“It felt great,” said Gattis, who graduated from hitting soft-tossed “flips” to batting practice thrown by bullpen catcher Alan Butts. “I couldn't feel (the oblique strain). Felt good. A little rusty, but I feel real good. I feel close, ready to play. See how it is (the rest of the week), get another BP, then hopefully get in some games."
On the DL since June 18, Gattis hopes to be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment before next week's All-Star break. That could set him up for a return from the disabled list during the July 19-21 interleague series against the White Sox in Chicago, where the Braves will use a designated hitter.
In his only game as a DH, Gattis went 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and two RBI. The catcher/outfielder also was 6-for-8 with four homers as a pinch-hitter, and his bench bat has been sorely missed by the Braves.
He hit .252 with 11 doubles, 14 homers, 37 RBIs and a .577 slugging percentage in 163 at-bats before his injury. Gattis still has twice as many pinch-hit homers as the rest of the Braves combined, and his four homers in 23 at-bats in close-and-late situations is tied with Justin Upton for the team lead (Upton has four in 54 at-bats).
Gattis had six more homers and eight more RBIs than any other major league rookie entering Wednesday's games. His slugging percentage was second among rookies behind the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig (.659), with no other rookie at .500.
The Braves have been careful not to rush Gattis back. They want him healthy for the playoff race.
Gattis took batting practice with outfielder Jordan Schafer, the first on-field hitting for Schafer since he was DL last week with a badly bruised ankle from a foul ball. Schafer should also be ready shortly after the All-Star break.
Gattis was excited to punish baseballs again.
"It's the first time I've hit in BP on the field in a long time," he said. "Absolutely, it feels good. A little rusty, but it felt good. I feel ready to play. I feel close."
BEACHY UPDATE: Brandon Beachy was to pitch against the Mets in a June 18 doubleheader at Atlanta until he developed inflammation in his surgically repaired elbow in what was to be his last minor league rehab start.
Now beginning a second rehab stint, there is no set timetable for the right-hander’s return to the Braves, who lost to Miami 6-2 on Wednesday.
Beachy worked three innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday and allowed three hits and two runs against Norfolk. He walked one and struck out one while throwing 45 pitches, 29 for strikes.
“I am pretty happy,” Beachy said afterward. “I am feeling good and healthy. That’s the goal.”
Beachy walked the leadoff batter to open the game and then allowed back-to-back one-out doubles. But he retired seven of the next eight batters and faced the minimum over the rest of his outing thanks to a caught stealing.
“Once I got the ball down in the zone it was better,” Beachy said of his command after nearly four weeks off. “It still needs to improve by a lot.”
Beachy will need at least two more rehab starts and likely three. That means the Braves have a few more weeks to evaluate how the 26-year-old fits in their plans.
The Atlanta rotation hasn’t pitched as well recently as it did during the early part of the season, but there is still not an obvious spot for Beachy to slip into.
“All of that will take care of itself,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Beachy was tied for the National League lead in ERA before needing Tommy John surgery last June and was hoping to make it back in 12 months.
“Not worried about it at all, it’s just unfortunate the timing of it,” Beachy said after having to leave his fifth rehab start June 13 at Rochester because of inflammation.
Now he is on the comeback trail again.
“(A setback) happens more than pitching on your 12-month anniversary of your Tommy John,” Gonzalez said.