NYM@ATL: Avilan hits the deck, exits with injury

ATLANTA -- After exiting Tuesday night's game against the Mets with a left hamstring cramp, Braves reliever Luis Avilan could be available out of the bullpen Wednesday.

Avilan "felt great" after throwing a bullpen session early Wednesday, according to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. The left-hander summed up his condition with a thumbs-up.

"He threw a nice bullpen today, so we'll see how it goes," Gonzalez said.

Not long after leaving the field with head trainer Jeff Porter in the seventh inning of the Braves' home opener, Avilan was in good spirits and felt better.

"I'll be fine tomorrow," Avilan said Tuesday night. "I knew it was just a cramp, and I'll be perfect tomorrow. I'll be 100 percent tomorrow."

Atlanta believes Avilan's pain Tuesday was the result of dehydration. After suffering a left hamstring strain last April, Avilan was glad "it looked way better this time."

"He just forgets to get hydrated," Gonzalez said. "The weather's been so nice and cool and warm, and we've all done it. You forget to drink. You feel like you only drink when it's hot and humid. You still get dehydrated even if the temperature's nice."

Minor makes another pain-free rehab appearance

Mike Minor could return to the Braves as early as April 23.

ATLANTA -- When Mike Minor arrived at Turner Field on Wednesday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez could tell that the left-handed pitcher was bothered by the results he generated during Tuesday night's Minor League rehab appearance with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Minor issued three walks, surrendered two hits and needed 65 pitches to complete 2 1/3 innings against Norfolk. But Gonzalez made sure his veteran pitcher knew that the only thing that concerned him was that he went through the outing in pain-free fashion.

"I had to talk him off the ledge and say remember this is your third Spring Training game," Gonzalez said. "But that's just the way he is. He's a competitor. He wants to go out there and throw zeroes up there any time he can."

This was essentially the third "exhibition season start" for Minor, who reported to Spring Training behind scheduled because of the month-long stint of inactivity he experienced after a Dec. 31 urinary tract procedure.

Minor will attempt to throw approximately 80 pitches when he starts on Saturday, when Gwinnett hosts Durham. He will then make at least one more rehab start before the Braves decide whether he is ready to join Atlanta's rotation as early as April 23.

Some of Minor's struggles on Tuesday could be blamed on the fact that he was working in relief of Gavin Floyd, who allowed one earned run and completed four innings in his latest rehab stint.

As he nears the end of his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, Floyd will likely make at least three more rehab starts before joining Atlanta's rotation. He is expected to start for Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.

Beato optioned to Triple-A to clear space for Santana

Pedro Beato pitches against the Mets in his only outing for the Braves.

ATLANTA -- The Braves optioned right-hander Pedro Beato to Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday to make room for returning starting pitcher Ervin Santana.

The Reds outrighted Beato, who had an option remaining when he joined the Braves.

"We talked to him that we felt strongly about him," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We only played seven games or eight games. I'm sure he'll be back up trying to help us before this season's over with."

Beato gave up one hit in 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in a 4-0 loss to the Mets on Tuesday night at Turner Field. The outing was his lone appearance with the Braves since they claimed him off waivers from the Reds on Thursday.

"It was nice for him to pitch up here and to watch him pitch," Gonzalez said. "The way he carried himself was good."

Schafer in for B.J., as Simmons moved to two-hole

Must C Cannon: B.J. Upton cuts down Lobaton at home

ATLANTA -- Though his club already had two off-days through the regular season's first nine days, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elicited the expected explanation when he said his decision to replace B.J. Upton with Jordan Schafer in Wednesday night's lineup was a product of his desire to get his reserves some playing time.

In other words, he did not say this decision had anything to do with the fact that Upton has extended last year's struggles by hitting .138 and striking out 13 times through his first 29 plate appearances.

"It was more about putting Schafer in there and getting four at-bats and getting him into the flow of things," Gonzalez said. "Tomorrow, B.J. will be back in there. Hopefully, he can run off 12 or 13 [games] in a row."

While the Braves will hold out hope for Upton to produce a rebound season, there is certainly reason to wonder whether Gonzalez will continue filling his lineup's second spot with Upton. Andrelton Simmons moved from eighth to second for Wednesday night's game against the Mets.

Simmons, whose limited plate discipline led to an unsuccessful stint in the leadoff role last year, entered Wednesday having not struck out in his first 27 plate appearances.

While his ability to consistently put the ball in play might be appealing in the two-hole, Simmons has also produced the team's second-highest ground-into-double-play percentage (13.9) since the start of the 2013 season.

"He doesn't strike out," Gonzalez said. "This is just for today. It's not like it is set in stone for the next nine months. He's doing a nice job in the eight-hole. It's just today. But I think I've gotten to where I would probably hit him anywhere in the lineup."

Though the sample sizes are too small for any statistic to be telling at this point of the season, Gonzalez has reason to evaluate his lineup makeup. The Braves entered Wednesday having scored a Major League-low 15 runs -- their lowest total through a season's first seven games since 1980.