WASHINGTON -- With Brandon Beachy set to pitch in place of the injured Jair Jurrjens again Sunday, Braves manager Bobby Cox no longer has the option of starting him in place of the seemingly fatigued Mike Minor during the upcoming three-game series against the Marlins.
In fact, as of Saturday morning, Cox wasn't sure how he will align his rotation for this three-game set that begins Monday. Atlanta's game notes list "Undetermined" as the probable starter for each of these three games against Florida.
"We'll just wait," said Cox, who saw his club fall a half-game behind the Padres in the Wild Card race following the conclusion of Friday night's games.
No longer possessing the comfort that existed Sunday, when his club owned a 2 1/2-game lead in the Wild Card race, Cox confirmed that he is at least contemplating the possibility of sending some of his veteran pitchers to the mound on short rest during the regular season's final week.
"You've got to start thinking that way," Cox said.
The Braves could send Tommy Hanson to the mound with regular rest during Monday's series opener against the Marlins. Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe could then be asked to pitch the final two games on short rest.
Lowe has gone 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in the four regular season starts he has made with three days of rest. He pitched effectively in three of his four outings. But while making his most recent attempt on May 18, 2008, he allowed the Angels 10 hits and seven earned runs in five innings.
Hudson has proven more successful, going 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in the three regular-season starts he has made with one fewer than the normal four days of rest. He tossed eight scoreless innings while making his May 24, 2005, start against the Mets on short rest, and found similar success while limiting the Marlins to one run in seven innings on Sept. 17, 2006.
Hudson's only other start on short rest occurred July 18, 2006, when he limited the Cardinals to one run through the first five innings and then allowed them to tally four runs in the sixth.
"Nothing has been said, but it's that time of year," Lowe said. "So you just kind of take more medication maybe and go back out there."
Beachy seeks better fate in second start
WASHINGTON -- Jair Jurrjens believes that his right knee has steadily improved since he received a cortisone injection and began undergoing daily treatment on Sept. 25. But as the Braves enter the season's final week, they seemingly have to assume Jurrjens won't be available for at least another week.
"It's getting better, but time isn't on my side," said Jurrjens, who is dealing with a small meniscus tear in his right knee.
When Jurrjens was unable to make his scheduled start against the Phillies on Monday, Brandon Beachy abruptly learned that he was about four hours away from making his Major League debut. Under the circumstances, which included the fact that he had spent most of the month in the instructional league, he had reason to be proud after limiting the Phillies to three runs (one earned) in a 4 1/3-innings effort that was tarnished by Jason Heyward's fifth-inning error.
As Beachy prepares to start for Jurrjens again Sunday, he at least has the comfort provided by the fact that he learned of this assignment Friday. But truth be told, he's spent the entire week preparing and hoping to get another start.
"I was throwing my bullpens and doing everything like I was going to start in case I did," Beachy said. "I feel pretty good going into it."
Beachy appreciates the compliments he's received since his effective debut. But with the Braves in the thick of a pennant race, the only reward he's seeking is an outcome different than the one he experienced Monday.
"I know it's a tough situation, but I shouldn't be easier on myself because of that," Beachy said. "I want to win the game. I want to throw the ball as well as I can, regardless of what is going on."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.