Braves yet to reveal who will lose rotation spot
Beachy slated to return next week; club may wait until July to decide
SAN DIEGO -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick would have approved of the simple answers Braves general manager Frank Wren provided on Wednesday in response to questions about his team's rotation plans once Brandon Beachy returns next week.
"Whatever we do will be what is best for the team," Wren said with a smile, while mimicking what was essentially the response Belichick repeatedly issued when answering numerous Tim Tebow-related questions on Tuesday.
Beachy is scheduled to make his final Minor League rehab assignment start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday night in Rochester, N.Y. If all goes well, he will start one of the games in Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets at Turner Field.
With each member of the rotation pitching effectively, there is still not a clear-cut answer to how the Braves are going to create a rotation spot for Beachy, who was leading the National League with a 2.00 ERA before having to undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery around this same time last year.
"There's a lot of moving parts, in terms of how you make it work," Wren said. "The overriding decision will be what is best for our team and nothing else. When we're close to that and have to make a decision, we'll do what is best for the team."
The Braves may not have to make a decision regarding their rotation until the first week of July. They are scheduled for three off-days within an eight-day stretch that begins on June 24. During this span, the team would have the option of resting one of its starters or sending a starter to the bullpen.
Many fans have asked whether Beachy would be placed in the bullpen like Kris Medlen when he returned from Tommy John surgery last year. But their situations differ in multiple ways.
Medlen was 20 months removed from the surgical process at the start of the 2012 season, and he had made two appearances during the final week of the '11 season. Wren has repeatedly said the decision to place him in the bullpen was solely based on an attempt to limit his innings.
Medlen had never thrown more than 120 1/3 innings in a season before last year. If he had been used as a starting pitcher from the beginning of the season, he would have exceeded the Braves' comfort level before the end of the season.
Beachy completed a career-high 141 2/3 innings in '11. Because he will be returning with fewer than 100 games remaining this season, the Braves will not have any reason to be concerned about his number of innings.
"Beachy has just got to be guarded, because he is not yet 12 months out of Tommy John," Wren said. "The innings are not a factor like they were last year with Medlen."
B.J. Upton turning it around after slow start
SAN DIEGO -- B.J. Upton has started to show some signs of encouragement at the plate. But after seeing two long fly balls caught at the outfield wall during this week's series at Petco Park, the slender Braves outfielder playfully said it might be time to add some weight.
"I might need to get with the chef to see if I can get some more weight put on me or something," Upton said. "I hit the one [Monday] pretty well. The one I hit [Tuesday] really well and it didn't go. That's just how it goes."
Actually, things have recently been going much better for Upton. He entered Wednesday having hit .258 with two home runs and a .894 OPS in his previous 10 games. During this stretch, he raised his batting average from .145 to .163.
"I'm comfortable up there right now," Upton said. "I said earlier this year at some point [that it was] going to turn around, and it's been getting better. Right now, I like where it's at. If I can keep it where it's at, I should be good."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.