New York Mets: Tommy La Stella

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Braves 2

August, 26, 2014
8/26/14
9:38
PM ET
NEW YORK -- No David Wright? No Daniel Murphy?

No problem.

Juan Lagares had a tiebreaking homer and Dillon Gee won for the first time since July 9 as the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 Tuesday at Citi Field despite playing without their injured Nos. 2 and 3 hitters.

The Braves entered the day trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by a half-game for the second wild-card spot.

Lagares, who had snapped a 227 at-bat homerless drought on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, produced a two-run homer against Alex Wood in the fourth to break a 1-all tie.

Gee had been 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in his past seven starts. His last win also had come against the Braves.

This time, Gee (5-6) limited Atlanta to two runs on six hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings.

After Gee held the Braves hitless through 3 2/3 innings, Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton produced consecutive doubles that evened the score at 1. Upton has 24 RBIs in August, the most of any month in his career.

Leading 3-1 in the seventh, Gee surrendered a leadoff infield single to Upton and walked Chris Johnson. Gee then coaxed a double-play grounder from Evan Gattis, but surrendered an RBI single to Tommy La Stella as the Braves pulled within a run.

Terry Collins pulled Gee after that pitch -- No. 101. Jeurys Familia entered and recorded the final out of the seventh. Familia also tossed a scoreless eighth.

Jenrry Mejia converted his 19th save despite surrendering a leadoff single to Upton.

What’s next: Zack Wheeler (9-8, 3.48 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (12-9, 2.96) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. Wheeler is 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his past 10 starts.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

August, 25, 2014
8/25/14
3:36
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Alex Wood, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor this week at Citi Field.
NEW YORK METS (61-70, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (68-63, second place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-6, 3.84) vs. LHP Alex Wood (9-9, 3.05), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (9-8, 3.48) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (12-9, 2.96), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (7-9, 3.47) vs. LHP Mike Minor (5-8, 4.09), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• Left fielder Justin Upton had a 13-game hitting streak end Saturday. He hit .413 (19-for-46) with five homers and 20 RBIs during the streak. Upton, who turned 27 on Monday’s off-day, is one of five active players to have produced 1,000 hits and 500 RBIs before celebrating that birthday. He joined Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. Upton’s 23 RBIs in August are his most in any month during his career.

Phil Gosselin made his major league debut on Aug. 16. The righty-hitting Gosselin and lefty-hitting fellow rookie Tommy La Stella have shared second-base duties since Gosselin’s promotion. Dan Uggla was released by the Braves on July 18 (and again by the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 7). Gosselin, a 25-year-old University of Virginia product, can play all four infield positions as well as left field. He was leading the International League in hits when he was promoted.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman is hitting .364 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .484 on-base percentage in 21 games since Aug. 2.

• Banged-up shortstop Andrelton Simmons was given Sunday’s game off. Simmons suffered a sprained left ankle on Aug. 5 and missed six games. He then departed last Tuesday’s game with a sore left hip, although he returned to the starting lineup the following day.

• The Braves acquired Emilio Bonifacio, left-handed reliever James Russell and cash from the Chicago Cubs for minor-league catcher Victor Caratini at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. Lefty batters are hitting .299 and righty batters are hitting .113 against Russell this season.

Morning Briefing: And now we pause

July, 14, 2014
7/14/14
5:40
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets open the second half with Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler facing the Padres.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets headed into the All-Star break with an Amazin’ finish to the first half.

They completed their homestand with eight wins in 10 games. It marked the second-most wins on a homestand in Citi Field history. The Amazin’s went 9-1 from April 18-28, 2010.

“We came off the road and, actually, I was talking to the coaches the first day,” Terry Collins said. “I said, ‘If we go 7-3, that’s going to be a tremendous homestand for us.’ These guys just stepped it up -- got the offense and pitching going at the same time. And that’s how you put streaks together.”

The Mets are still 45-50 on the season and seven games behind the co-division-leading Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.

Those teams are on pace for 89 wins. So it may require that magical 90 wins for the Mets to capture the division. And that would mean a 45-22 record the rest of the way.

The Mets reconvene Friday in San Diego. Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler face the Padres that series.

“What we’ve shown the last 10 days is, yes, we can compete,” Collins said. “Now, we’ve got 67 more games. We’ve got to go out and do it. We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to go do it. If we continue to play like this, September is going to be a fun month.”

Monday’s news reports:

• The Mets closed the first half with a 9-1 win against the Marlins as Jacob deGrom limited Miami to one run in seven innings and also drove in the tiebreaking run for his first career RBI.

The Mets leapfrogged Miami and moved into sole possession of third place for the first time since May 4.

After the victory, David Wright suggested the Nationals and Braves are within striking distance of the Mets.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Wright still is playing through shoulder discomfort. He planned to receive a cortisone injection after Sunday’s game to try to address swelling and his bruised left rotator cuff. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Despite Collins floating Saturday that deGrom may have to open the second half in the bullpen for a week or two to conserve innings, the manager confirmed postgame Sunday that deGrom would remain uninterrupted in the rotation. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Jonathon Niese returned to the mound for a bullpen session Sunday and declared himself fit to return from the disabled list next Monday in Seattle. With deGrom remaining in the rotation, that signals Daisuke Matsuzaka is reverting to relief work. Read more in the Post.

• Noah Syndergaard, sporting a Mohawk, produced the save for the U.S. team and Kevin Plawecki started at catcher and drove in the opening run as the Mets prospects were on the winning side of a 3-2 victory in the Futures Game on Sunday in Minneapolis.


Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard confessed he was affected by lofty expectations while struggling in Triple-A.


Syndergaard told the Daily News’ John Haper afterward about closing: “It’s a different mentality. My heart is still racing. I’ll leave that to someone else.”

He said about a 5.31 Triple-A ERA in 16 starts with Las Vegas this season: “I feel like the expectations got to me a little bit.” On rearing back and firing fastballs with men on base, he added: “I have to become more of a pitcher than a thrower.”

Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• Collins offered no indication Wilmer Flores is returning to the majors soon, despite a 17-game hitting streak with Las Vegas. The manager expects the Mets to remain with an outfield-heavy bench at the major league level.

• Dilson Herrera had a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh and Binghamton overcame four errors from third baseman Dustin Lawley in a 5-4 win against Erie. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tim Rohan in the Times addresses Jenrry Mejia’s demonstrative post-save antics. Writes Rohan:

As Mejia progressed, so did the celebrations. For weeks he appeared to tinker with that dance, and finally, against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, he executed it smoothly and confidently. Tommy La Stella, the batter Mejia struck out to end the game, and Jason Heyward, a young Braves star, said they hardly noticed it.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “If stuff like that bothered you, you’d be fighting every day. Whatever he’s got to do. I’m glad that my closer and my team, when we win games, we just walk off the field. Like we’ve done it.”

The Mets did not appear to have a clear opinion, either. Manager Terry Collins said that times had changed and that closers’ celebrations were more acceptable than they once were. He cited a conversation he once had with the former manager Jim Leyland, who put up with Jose Valverde's antics for years in Detroit. If Leyland could do it, Collins could, too.

Travis d'Arnaud says amateur lip readers on Twitter are incorrect if they think he was cursing the Marlins postgame Saturday. Read more in Newsday.

• Columnist George Willis in the Post lists reasons to be bullish about the Mets.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal labels All-Star Daniel Murphy the Mets’ MVP, Chris Young the biggest letdown and Lucas Duda the biggest surprise.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets third baseman Robin Ventura turns 47. ... Minor-league flamethrower Jack Leathersich, who is averaging 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings in his pro career, turns 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 3 (11)

July, 7, 2014
7/07/14
11:01
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Ya Gotta Believe?

The New York Mets, who aim to use this series against the Atlanta Braves to catapult themselves back into relevance, squandered a late lead but ultimately rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings on Monday at Citi Field.

Curtis Granderson produced a game-tying, two-out, solo home run in the eighth inning, and the Mets scored the winning run three innings later on Ruben Tejada's two-out RBI single off Anthony Varvaro.

Tejada also had the Mets' last walk-off hit, on May 11 against Philadelphia (also in the 11th inning).

The Mets (40-49) pulled to within nine games of the first-place Braves (49-40) in the NL East.

Wacky ninth: Eric Young Jr. ended up grounding into a fielder’s choice against Shae Simmons to strand the bases loaded and end the ninth inning, but how the Mets got there left Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected and Mets manager Terry Collins perhaps worthy of admittance to the bar.

With the score tied at 3, Eric Campbell singled to open the frame. Juan Lagares then bunted, and umpire Sean Barber ruled Campbell out at second base, though a throw to first base for a double-play bid was too late.

However, Collins complained that Andrelton Simmons pulled his foot off second base before accepting the throw (which television replays supported).

"Neighborhood plays” are excluded from replay review, but Collins convinced the umps to confer and then go to video anyway. The ruling from the home office came back safe, which placed runners at first and second with no outs.

Gonzalez again argued and was ejected. He clearly believed the play was not reviewable.

In order for it to be considered a “neighborhood play,” the fielder must have acted to avoid a collision, which arguably wasn't the case, with Simmons pulling his foot off the bag to accept the throw at second. Perhaps that was Collins' winning argument.

Crazy eighth: Vic Black, Josh Edgin and Jenrry Mejia combined to allow three eighth-inning runs, as the Mets failed to hold a 2-0 lead after receiving seven scoreless innings from starter Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Black turned the two-run lead over to Edgin with Freddie Freeman on third base and two outs. Things quickly unraveled.

Edgin fired a wild pitch that sailed above Jason Heyward’s head and allowed Freeman to scamper home, which pulled the Braves within a run.

Given the series’ importance, Collins then turned to Mejia for a four-out save. Instead, the closer surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Chris Johnson off the top of the center-field wall. After an intentional walk to New Jersey native Tommy La Stella, rookie Christian Bethancourt served a go-ahead RBI single into right field.

Mejia suffered his second blown save in 10 chances. The other was June 7 at San Francisco.

Edgin had retired the first batter he faced in each of his previous 23 appearances -- a franchise record to begin a season.

Made the most: The Mets mustered only four hits through eight innings but made them count. Travis d'Arnaud had a second-inning double that plated Eric Campbell, who had reached via walk. David Wright homered the following inning against left-hander Mike Minor. Then, trailing 3-2 with two outs in the eighth, Granderson homered against Luis Avilan to even the score. Daniel Murphy followed Granderson’s homer with a single that chased Avilan.

The Braves had retired 15 straight batters between Wright’s and Granderson’s long balls, with Minor retiring 13 straight to close his seven-inning outing.

d'Arnaud has reached base in all 11 games since returning from Triple-A. Wright is hitting .395 (32-for-81) against southpaws this season.

No Dice: Matsuzaka tossed seven scoreless innings in his longest start of the season but was deprived of his first win since June 10.

Matsuzaka allowed two baserunners in each of the first three innings but repeatedly escaped unscathed. His final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 100 pitches and departed with a 2-0 lead.

With Dillon Gee ready to return from the disabled list, Matsuzaka might have been reassigned to the bullpen this week had Jonathon Niese not landed on the disabled list. Matsuzaka had surrendered five runs in each of his previous two starts. His previous season high had been six innings, which he had accomplished in three starts.

Struck: Carlos Torres was struck on the bare hand with a liner in the 11th but remained in the game after a visit from the trainer.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29 ERA) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

July, 6, 2014
7/06/14
9:23
PM ET

Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY SportsTommy La Stella, a native of Closter, N.J., has taken over at second base for the Braves.
METS (39-49, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (49-39, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.72) vs. LHP Mike Minor (2-5, 4.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-5, 3.77) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (8-5, 2.29), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (3-1, 2.73) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-5, 3.93), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-7, 4.04) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (8-6, 3.67), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• With a 3-1 victory Sunday at Turner Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks snapped Atlanta’s season-high nine-game winning streak. The Braves had been bidding for their third straight series sweep, after winning four straight at Philadelphia and then three games against the Mets at Turner Field. The bullpen allowed one earned run in 22 2/3 innings during the winning streak.

Gerald Laird returned to the starting lineup Friday after missing last week’s Mets series to rest a strained right oblique. Christian Bethancourt handled the catching duties against the Mets and figures to continue to get the bulk of the starts, even with Laird now available. The rookie has performed solidly since his call-up nine days ago, hitting .292.

No. 1 catcher Evan Gattis (.290, 16 HR, 39 RBIs) landed on the DL on June 29 with a bulging disk in his back. He subsequently received an epidural injection and remains sidelined. Gattis continues to experience tightness.


Alex Brandon/Associated PressJason Heyward was ESPN's Defensive Player of the Month for June.


• Right fielder Jason Heyward received ESPN’s Defensive Player of the Month Award for June. He tied for the major league lead with eight defensive runs saved during the month. Heyward is hitting .125 (6-for-48) with no homers, three RBIs and 10 walks in his last 15 games (14 starts). Heyward nonetheless has reached base safely in 48 of 54 games since May 9.

• Center fielder B.J. Upton had a career-high 11-game hitting streak snapped Sunday. The hitting streak coincided with becoming the team’s leadoff hitter.

• Reigning NL Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons was installed in the No. 2 spot in the batting order beginning June 27. He is hitting .340 (17-for-50) in 12 starts in that slot.

• Right-hander Julio Teheran, first baseman Freddie Freeman and closer Craig Kimbrel will represent Atlanta in the July 15 All-Star Game at Minnesota. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been selected to serve on NL manager Mike Matheny’s staff.

Freeman has played all but two innings for the Braves this season.

Kimbrel struck out all three batters he faced in recording last Tuesday’s save against the Mets. It marked the fifth time this season and 24th time in Kimbrel’s career that he faced at least three batters in an appearance and struck out each one. Kimbrel has struck out 43 percent of the batters he has faced in his career, the highest percentage in major league history among relievers with at least 150 saves. Billy Wagner ranks second at 33 percent.

Kimbrel’s 89.7 career save percentage (166-for-185) ranks third all time among relievers with at least 150 chances, trailing only Eric Gagne (91.7 percent) and John Smoltz (91.1).

• The Braves are the youngest team in the National League. Their average age on Opening Day was 27 years, 255 days.

Dan Uggla (.163, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 39 Ks in 129 at-bats) has been relegated to the bench. He has started only two games since May 23. Uggla is earning $13 million this season. He also is under contract for 2015 at $13 million.

Rookie Tommy La Stella -- a Closter, N.J., native and product of St. Joseph High School in Montvale -- has taken over the position. La Stella, 25, got off to a quick start. He then became mired in an 0-for-23 skid until rebounding.

La Stella (.294) had been installed as the leadoff hitter beginning June 18, but he subsequently was moved to No. 2 and then No. 7. He has three straight multi-hit games. La Stella spent his freshman year of college playing at St. John’s before transferring to Coastal Carolina.

• Right-handed reliever David Carpenter was activated from the DL on Wednesday. He had landed on the DL on June 17 with a strained biceps. Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, who had been promoted to replace Carpenter, landed on the DL two days later with a right elbow strain.

Mike Minor is 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA in his last eight starts. He allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets last week.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 5, Mets 4

July, 1, 2014
7/01/14
10:30
PM ET
ATLANTA -- The hole keeps getting deeper for the New York Mets.

The Atlanta Braves beat the Mets, 5-4, Tuesday at Turner Field, dropping the Amazin’s 10 games under .500 for the first time this season. The Mets (37-47) also fell a season-high nine games off the division lead.

No Dice: Daisuke Matsuzaka should have one more start in the rotation. After that, Dillon Gee could be activated from the disabled list and displace him.

For the second straight start, Matsuzaka allowed five runs.

This time, with the score tied at 2 in the fourth, Matsuzaka surrendered a two-out RBI single to opposing pitcher Mike Minor. Andrelton Simmons followed with a two-run single as the Braves took a 5-2 lead.

Matsuzaka’s line: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. His season ERA now stands at 3.72.

Gee makes what potentially is his final rehab start Friday, with the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Deep thoughts: Curtis Granderson homered for the second straight day, while Daniel Murphy also went deep. Murphy’s two-run shot against Minor in the fifth pulled the Mets within 5-4.

Eric Campbell and Lucas Duda followed with singles to place runners on the corners with one out. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez then summoned right-hander Shae Simmons. He coaxed a flyout from Chris Young and struck out Travis d'Arnaud to strand the potential tying run at third base.

Since his three-homer series against Oakland, C.Y. is 1-for-15 on the road trip. His average has dropped to .199. D’Arnaud actually has hit safely in all seven games since returning from Las Vegas.

Heavy lifting: Aided by one hustling catch by Juan Lagares, Carlos Torres contributed three no-hit innings in relief of Matsuzaka to keep the Mets within a run entering the ninth. The only baserunner came on a two-out throwing error by Torres to first base in the eighth.

Ouch: Jersey native Tommy La Stella departed the game with a right foot bruise, which he suffered getting hit by a pitch from Matsuzaka in the second inning.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.62 ERA) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34) in Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. series finale.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 5, Mets 3

June, 30, 2014
6/30/14
10:35
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Jeurys Familia had been nearly automatic of late as the primary setup man to Jenrry Mejia, tossing nine straight scoreless innings and posting a 0.71 ERA since May 25.

Even the best have hiccups.

Entrusted with a two-run lead, Familia committed one of the Mets’ three costly errors in a four-run eighth as the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 5-3 win Monday at Turner Field.

The Mets (37-46) fell a season-high eight games behind the division-leading Braves and are at nine games under .500, matching their low-water mark for the season.

The Mets fell to 33-5 when ahead after seven innings.

Leading 3-1, Familia surrendered inning-opening singles to Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. He then coaxed a would-be double-play comebacker from Chris Johnson. However, Familia bounced the throw to Ruben Tejada covering second base and everyone was safe.

With the bases loaded and none out, Jersey native Tommy La Stella then sent a run-scoring single up the middle. A second run scored on the play, tying the score at 3, when center fielder Juan Lagares could not cleanly field the ball, for a costly E-8.

Later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Andrelton Simmons sent a routine chopper to third baseman Eric Campbell. The ball popped out of Campbell’s glove and his ensuing throw to first base was late, allowing the Braves to take the lead.

Dana Eveland subsequently entered and issued a bases-loaded walk to force in another run.

The Mets entered the day with 15 double-play misplays and errors, tied with the San Diego Padres for the most in the major leagues, according to ESPN Stats & Information’s Mark Simon.

Wild thing: Zack Wheeler issued five walks and hit a batter, but managed to limit the Braves to one run in 6 1/3 innings and stood in position for the win until the eighth-inning meltdown.

Wheeler had tossed 83 pitches through four innings and looked headed for a short outing.

He then got a double play in a nine-pitch fifth and began to get more efficient.

With Wheeler coming off a career-low two-inning outing against Oakland in which he tossed only 48 pitches, and with him due to get an extra day of rest before pitching again Sunday, Terry Collins extended the right-hander.

With the Mets holing a 3-1 lead, Wheeler returned to the mound for the seventh inning with his pitch count already at 104. Wheeler surrendered a leadoff single to Christian Bethancourt, then pinch hitter Jordan Schafer sent a deep shot to left field that Chris Young ran down.

At that point, Wheeler departed -- and things got interesting.

Vic Black got B.J. Upton to ground into a potential inning-ending double play, but Tejada could not handle the grounder, which was generously scored an infield single. With two on and one out, Black coaxed Simmons to fly out.

Collins then returned to insert Josh Edgin to face the dangerous Freddie Freeman.

Edgin is now 21-for-21 this season in retiring the first batter he faces. Freeman flied out to left field as the Braves stranded two baserunners and the Mets maintained a two-run lead.

Wheeler’s final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. He threw 113 pitches.

Leading man: Curtis Granderson, again in the leadoff spot after a cameo Sunday at cleanup, produced a game-opening homer against left-hander Alex Wood. The shot snapped an 0-for-17 drought by Granderson, albeit which included three shots to the outfield wall in Pittsburgh.

Granderson also had a leadoff homer June 15 at Citi Field against San Diego Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy. Monday’s shot marked his 26th career leadoff homer.

Catching on: Travis d'Arnaud continues to produce since returning from Vegas. Now able to reach pitches on the outer half of the plate because of his adjusted stance, d’Arnaud produced an RBI double in the second inning. He finished 1-for-4 and has hit safely in all six games since rejoining the Mets. D’Arnaud is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with one homer and four RBIs during that span.

Three cheers: The Mets entered the series batting .164 with the bases loaded this season. That figure remained intact Monday, but the Mets did pick up an RBI in such a situation. C.Y.’s third-inning sacrifice fly against Wood with the bases loaded increased the Mets’ lead to 3-0.

What’s next: Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

June, 29, 2014
6/29/14
5:35
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran during their upcoming series in Atlanta.
METS (37-45, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (44-38, first place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45) vs. LHP Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-2, 3.23) vs. LHP Mike Minor (2-5, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.62) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (7-5, 2.34), 7:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Alex Wood was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett and reentered the rotation Wednesday. He tossed seven scoreless innings at Houston in his first major league start since May 4. Wood replaced Gavin Floyd, who fractured the olecranon (funny bone) in his pitching elbow throwing a curveball. Mets doctor David Altchek performed season-ending surgery Wednesday in New York. Wood had opened the season in Atlanta’s rotation, but was shifted to the bullpen once Floyd returned from Tommy John surgery in early May.

Evan Gattis was forced to depart Friday’s game and since has been sidelined with a muscle issue in his upper back. Gattis, who had a career-high 20-game hitting streak snapped a week ago, hopes to avoid the disabled list. He has 16 homers, most among MLB catchers and tied with teammate Justin Upton for fifth overall in the National League.

Atlanta promoted top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt as a hedge, so the Braves would not be overly reliant on Gerald Laird. Ryan Doumit also has catching experience, but has started only two games behind the plate this season, both in early April.

Bethancourt had one plate appearance last Sept. 29, in his lone previous major league action. He got his first career start and action behind the plate in Game 2 of a doubleheader Saturday at Philadelphia. The 22-year-old Panamanian went 1-for-4. He has been selected to participate in his third Futures Game, at Minnesota on July 13.

Dan Uggla (.164, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 38 Ks in 128 at-bats) has been relegated to the bench because of profound struggles. He has started only two games since May 23. Uggla is earning $13 million this season. He also is under contract for 2015 at $13 million.


Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY SportsNew Jersey native Tommy La Stella has overtaken Dan Uggla as the Braves' second baseman.


After brief use of Tyler Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena at second base, rookie Tommy La Stella -- a Closter, N.J., native and product of St. Joseph High School in Montvale -- has taken over the position. La Stella, 25, got off to a quick start, but had been mired in an 0-for-23 skid until delivering a three-run triple in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

La Stella (.278) had been installed as the leadoff hitter beginning June 18, but he subsequently was moved to No. 2. Beginning this past weekend, he shifted to seventh. La Stella spent his freshman year of college playing at St. John’s before transferring to Coastal Carolina.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman has started every Braves game this season. The only other National League players to start all their teams’ games in 2014 are the Cubs’ Starlin Castro and Giants’ Hunter Pence. Freeman actually had logged every inning until he was hit by a pitch in the elbow in the eighth inning Wednesday by Houston’s Darin Downs and departed that game.

In his last 15 games, Freeman is hitting .371 (23-for-62) with nine extra-base hits and seven multi-hit games.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward’s six outfield assists are tied for the NL lead.

• The Braves will move into a new home ballpark beginning with the 2017 season. The site is located in Cobb County, in an affluent area north of Atlanta. The Braves have called Turner Field home since 1997, the year after the stadium hosted the Olympics.

B.J. Upton and Justin Upton both homered Tuesday. It marked the fourth time the brothers went deep in the same game, which tied the major league record. Jason Giambi and Jeremy Giambi as well as Vladimir Guerrero and Wilton Guerrero also homered in the same game four times.

Andrelton Simmons, the reigning NL Gold Glove winner at shortstop, is the third-toughest player in the NL to strike out.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel has four blown saves this season, matching last season’s total and already exceeding the three he suffered in 2012. Kimbrel’s 89.6 career save percentage nonetheless ranks third all time among MLB relievers with at least 150 chances, trailing only Eric Gagne (91.7 percent) and John Smoltz (91.1 percent). Kimbrel’s 155th save came on June 6 and set the Braves franchise record for career saves, passing Smoltz.

• Right-handed reliever David Carpenter has started a rehab assignment. He landed on the DL on June 17 with a strained biceps. Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, who had been promoted to replace Carpenter, landed on the DL two days later with a right elbow strain.

• Manager Fredi Gonzalez will serve as a coach on Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s NL All-Star staff.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187