ATLANTA -- The Braves know they will be spending the next few weeks without Brandon Beachy, who strained his left oblique muscle Friday night. But they have not announced who will fill his spot in the rotation.
Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Rodrigo Lopez stand as the candidates who could be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett. Because Lopez would earn a $1 million salary when he reaches the Major League level this year, Teheran and Minor seemingly stand as the more likely candidates.
While Minor might be a little further along in his development, Teheran could get the call as a result of how the schedule falls. If he took Beachy's next turn in the rotation on Wednesday, the 20-year-old phenom would be pitching with just one extra day of rest.
Minor, who has gone 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in six starts for Gwinnett, is scheduled to start Sunday. If he is scratched from that start, it would serve as a pretty clear indication that he will be the one serving as Beachy's replacement.
The Braves felt comfortable allowing Teheran to make his Major League debut with a spot start in Philadelphia last weekend. Given the fact that Beachy's turn in the rotation will come up just two more times this month, they might once again call him up for a brief Major League stint.
Because of scheduled off-days, Beachy's turn in the rotation wouldn't come again until May 31. Thus, if Teheran or Minor were to start Wednesday, either of them could be sent back to Gwinnett immediately. This would allow the Braves a chance to carry an extra reliever for nearly two full weeks.
The Braves will put Beachy on the disabled list Sunday, when they promote veteran reliever Scott Proctor from Gwinnett. Proctor has posted a 1.06 ERA and limited opponents to a .164 batting average in 14 appearances this year.
Reliever Martinez has night to remember
ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy knew he was in trouble when he felt a tear in his left side while swinging and missing a pitch during Friday night's second inning. The Braves certainly seemed to be in trouble when he was unable to throw more than two warmup pitches before the start of the third inning.
But Beachy's early exit simply provided an opportunity for Cristhian Martinez, who spent the next hour enjoying the most productive night of his professional career. The Braves' long reliever worked four perfect innings and delivered a game-tying, two-run double off Cole Hamels.
"That's my most exciting game," said Martinez, who would have been able to fully savor the memorable night had the Braves not blown a one-run seventh-inning lead and lost.
Martinez endured a tough stretch three weeks ago when he allowed two walk-off homers to the Dodgers (Matt Kemp) and Padres (Ryan Ludwick) within a span of five days. But this week, the 29-year-old right-hander has provided the Braves great value.
When Tim Hudson left Tuesday's start after five innings, Martinez kept the Nationals hitless over the next three innings. His four perfect innings in Friday's game against the Phillies gave the Braves a chance to win and also prevented them from overtaxing their bullpen.
"That was pretty impressive," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "He gets a star on his helmet for that one. Great job pitching. Great job hitting, no matter how lucky it was."
Heyward appears as defensive replacement
ATLANTA -- Braves right fielder Jason Heyward was a defensive substitution in the ninth inning of Saturday's 5-3 win over the Phillies but is still not expected to return to the lineup before Monday.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Heyward was feeling better so they decided to get him on the field defensively.
Heyward has been out of the starting lineup since Tuesday, when he exited the game against the Nationals with numbness in his right hand. He later received an MRI and was diagnosed with a sore right shoulder caused by inflammation. He received a cortisone shot Thursday afternoon.
He entered the game in right field for Eric Hinske on Saturday, but didn't have any balls come his way.
Jason Heyward said Saturday his right shoulder had shown more improvement. But it still seems like he will not return to the lineup before Monday. ... Former Braves manager Bobby Cox spent time with the players and coaches in the clubhouse before Saturday's game. ... Highly regarded pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings while pitching for Class A-Advanced Lynchburg against Myrtle Beach on Friday night.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.