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BRAVES NOTEBOOK: Braves put Pena on DL, recall Janish; Beachy struggling to return

Ramiro Pena is being shut down to prevent any more damage to his already tender shoulder.

Ramiro Pena is being shut down to prevent any more damage to his already tender shoulder.

ATLANTA — The Braves had hoped a few more days’ rest would help Ramiro Pena’s sore right shoulder, but after five days off he still hasn’t seen improvement. They placed him on the disabled list late Friday and recalled shortstop Paul Janish from Triple-A Gwinnett.

Pena did not make the trip to Milwaukee. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Pena was seeking a second opinion. Pena had surgery on the shoulder seven years ago as a minor leaguer with the Yankees. The Braves hope he can avoid surgery this time.

“We haven’t gotten all the tests in yet,” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully it’s just soreness and nothing more than that.”

Pena said recently his shoulder started bothering him about a month ago, and he aggravated it on a check swing in Los Angeles. Pena said it didn’t bother him at the plate, but continued to give him problems throwing. He had arthroscopic surgery to repair his labrum as a minor leaguer with the Yankees.

Pena has been the Braves’ primary backup infielder and provided an offensive lift not many saw coming. After hitting .233 over four seasons of sparse work with the Yankees, Pena is hitting .278 (27-for-97) with five doubles, one triple, three home runs and 12 RBI in 50 games as a Brave.

He hadn’t played in a game since Sunday night against the Giants when he went 1-for-4 with a line-drive single in a start at second base.

g Janish empty-handed: Gonzalez says Janish “saved our butts” last season. He hopes Janish can do a little more of the same.

Janish provides the Braves a more-than-capable backup at shortstop, third base and second base. Now all he needs is some equipment.

Janish arrived at Miller Park without any of his gear. He had flown in from Buffalo after Gwinnett wrapped up a series there Thursday night, but his bag was on a truck bound for Atlanta. Janish was planning to borrow a glove from Tyler Pastornicky and cleats from Chris Johnson, and would have to make do until the Gwinnett clubhouse staff could ship his equipment.

“I’ll put something together, make it work,” Janish said.

That’s what he did last season after the Braves acquired him in a July trade from the Reds, looking for help at shortstop when Andrelton Simmons broke a bone in his right hand.

Janish’s standout defense made him a valuable commodity, even after Simmons returned. But he dislocated his non-throwing shoulder in September and had to undergo surgery after the season ended. Janish was not cleared to start playing in games until mid-April.

“I haven’t dealt with a whole lot other than sometimes when I dive, I’ll feel it a little bit,” Janish said.

Janish was hitting .207 (28-for-135) in 41 games at shortstop for Gwinnett.

BEACHY FINALLY READY FOR BULLPEN SESSIONS: Brandon Beachy’s elbow is improving after a little more than a week of rest since the Braves shut down him down on the cusp of his return from Tommy John surgery. The Braves are planning to have him throw a bullpen session this week.

“I don’t know exactly which day, but he’ll throw a bullpen — probably just a light bullpen — sometime this road trip,” Gonzalez said. “That’s why he came with us, to get treatment with our trainer and physical therapist.”

Gonzalez said there’s no plan for “ramping Beachy up” yet, though, and that they’re going to play it smart with a pitcher who endured his first setback at about the 12-month mark in his recovery.

“We’ll play it safe with him,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also said there’s no plan mapped out beyond this initial bullpen but when the time comes, Beachy will throw at least a couple of bullpens before he heads back out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment to build back up. At that rate, Beachy isn’t likely to return until sometime after the All-Star break.

Both doctors’ exams and an MRI have assured the Braves that Beachy’s right elbow is structurally sound, it was just a matter of giving some inflammation time to subside.

“It’s feeling better,” Beachy said Saturday. “Just see what they have for me tomorrow — it’s one of those type of things.”

Ayala rehab assignment: After nearly two months on the disabled list, veteran reliever Luis Ayala started a new rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett and pitched a scoreless inning with one walk in a 3-2 win at Buffalo this week.

The right-hander was placed on the 15-day DL in late April with anxiety disorder, which he developed after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Ayala lost significant weight during the early weeks dealing with the condition, and struggled in a brief minor-league rehab assignment last month.

Gonzalez said there was no timetable for Ayala’s return, but that he could possibly be ready after two or three more appearances.


Schaefer: Better protect home, or I’ll steal it

MILWAUKEE — Jordan Schafer has made the most of his backup role with the Braves this season, and scoring the decisive run on a wild pitch in Wednesday’s 5-3 win against the Mets might have been a prelude to something more memorable.

Stealing home.

The speedy outfielder said if a team uses a defensive shift as severe as what the Mets deployed when Brian McCann batted in the fifth inning Wednesday, Schafer is confident he could score on a stolen base — any time he wants..

“If they’re going to let me get that far down,” said Schafer, who was about halfway to the plate when Shaun Marcum threw the fifth-inning wild pitch, with third baseman David Wright playing where the shortstop would normally be. “That’s ridiculous, to play a shift that far. If they’re going to let me get halfway, I don’t think they have much of a chance.”

The pitch was in the dirt and squirted perhaps 10 feet away from catcher John Buck, far enough with Schafer’s lead.

“We had a thing in spring training where a team did that (shift),” Schafer said. “I came back in the dugout and (first-base coach Terry Pendleton) said, if they’re going to play that far over, you can walk down as far as you want. Nobody can get you, so ...

“(The Mets) weren’t playing the shift that big at first, and then that pitch they, like, super-shifted and Wright was beyond where the shortstop would be. So I was like, OK, there’s two strikes, maybe he’ll try to throw a breaking ball or something, and it won’t have to get away very far. I mean, I basically could have stolen home, I was so far down. I was just looking for a ball in the dirt, and it happened that pitch.”

Schafer hit .305 with a .402 on-base percentage in 105 at-bats before Thursday, including .329 (23-for-70) with seven extra-base hits (two triples, two homers) in his past 34 games.

“He gives you energy, a guy that can steal a base and go extra bases,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Schafer, whose .408 OBP as a leadoff hitter was fourth-highest in the National League. “(Earlier this week) he scores from third base on a ball that — did that ball even leave the circle? Just barely, and he scored.”