clear
Friday May 22nd, 2015 1:35PM

Rookies La Stella, Simmons give boost to Braves

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- The Braves received a needed boost from two players recalled from the minors last week.<br /> <br /> Now Tommy La Stella and Shae Simmons are set for their home debuts.<br /> <br /> Atlanta opens a two-game series with Seattle on Tuesday night. The starting second baseman is expected to be La Stella, who had back-to-back two-hit games in the Braves' weekend sweep at Miami.<br /> <br /> The Braves also have a new power arm in their bullpen. Simmons, fresh from Double-A Mississippi, recorded a key out on Saturday. The right-hander then earned his first save on Sunday when closer Craig Kimbrel needed a rest.<br /> <br /> General manager Frank Wren said Simmons, 23, filled a void left with right-hander Jordan Walden on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.<br /> <br /> Walden "was exceptional in April," Wren told The Associated Press on Monday. "He gives us that solid end of the game guy, to be able to bridge to Kimbrel, and we were missing that. We think Simmons can do some of that."<br /> <br /> Simmons left Miami with two game balls and valuable experience. He survived two hits and a walk to earn the save in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Marlins.<br /> <br /> "Now that it's over with, I can kind of ease my mind," Simmons said. "I got through my first couple of appearances OK. Hopefully I just continue to work and get better from here."<br /> <br /> Catcher Evan Gattis said Simmons wasn't rattled in his first two pressure situations.<br /> <br /> "He showed good composure," Gattis said. "He didn't seem to get too shaken up. I think it was good that he was in that high-pressure situation (Saturday). I think that helped."<br /> <br /> The clutch production from La Stella, 25, and Simmons was especially important after the Braves lost four straight to the Red Sox. The three-game sweep of the Marlins kept the Braves in first place in the NL East before an off day on Monday.<br /> <br /> "Both of them were brought up at a time when we had a need and they have performed quite well in getting their first taste of the big leagues," Wren said.<br /> <br /> The Braves tried Dan Uggla, Ramiro Pena and Tyler Pastornicky at second base before finally calling up La Stella, who was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett. He had two hits in his debut on Wednesday at Boston and is hitting .400 through his first five games.<br /> <br /> La Stella's promotion led to renewed speculation the Braves might try to trade Uggla, who is hitting only .176. Wren insists the La Stella move and Uggla's status are "mutually exclusive."<br /> <br /> "They don't impact each other," Wren said. "What we're looking for is a spark out of that position, wherever that comes from and however that comes about.<br /> <br /> "In Danny's case, we would love for him to get something going, but at the same time we'll continue to play like we're playing."<br /> <br /> La Stella likely will remain the starter as long as he provides a steady influence on a lineup which otherwise has been too reliant on all-or-nothing big swings.<br /> <br /> "We feel like he gives an added dimension offensively that we need and that's plate discipline and putting the ball in play," Wren said. "He seems to fit well in the lineup."<br /> <br /> Wren said Pastornicky, who was optioned to Gwinnett, needs regular playing time following a season-ending knee injury in 2013.<br /> <br /> "Tyler really has missed a lot of time," Wren said. "He missed two months at the end of last season with the ACL and missed most of spring training. We just felt it was in his best interest to go down and play regularly."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 4 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 4 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 4 months ago )
Professional Sports
VIDEO: Gainesville baseball rides chemistry, momentum into championship series
For years, the Gainesville baseball team gazed at the outfield wall at Ivey-Watson Field -- adorned with seven state championship banners -- and wondered when the next might come.
5:01PM ( 3 hours from now )
Buford-Whitewater: Who has the experience in epic AAAA title showdown?
If experience is king in the playoffs, then is perhaps Buford, the No. 1 team in Class AAAA and considered by many to be the class of the entire state -- and ranked in the top 10 nationally -- the underdog in Saturday’s championship series against Whitewater?
1:10PM ( 25 minutes ago )
No. 6 Nighthawks no-hit by Foley, drop opening round NCAA Championship contest
University of Indianapolis junior ace Morgan Foley etched her name in the NCAA Championship record book, joining a select few in throwing a no-hitter in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
By UNG Athletic Communications
10:41AM ( 2 hours ago )
Briscoe to substitute for Hinchcliffe in Indianapolis 500
Ryan Briscoe didn’t think twice about accepting the short-notice request from Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Sam Schmidt to drive in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
By IndyCar Media
10:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
NASCAR Notebook: Hamlin hopes to sweep Charlotte
Denny Hamlin had one million reasons to smile Saturday.
By NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 5 hours ago )