NEW YORK -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez enjoyed his first Major League managerial experience while surrounded by friends and family members in his native Miami. But he could have done without some of the second-guessing he experienced, like when his aunt called to ask why he was using Jorge Julio so frequently.
Gonzalez's parents will be among the friends and family who will be present Tuesday night when he returns to Sun Life Stadium for the first time since the Marlins fired him as their manager last June.
Gonzalez is looking forward to seeing many of the front-office staff, security guards and ushers that he got to know so well during his four seasons as the Marlins' manager. He still has a strong friendship with Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, and was glad that he and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria had a cordial conversation when they just happened to bump into each other during this past December's Winter Meetings.
"He said 'Hi' to me and I said 'Hi' to him," Gonzalez said. "He congratulated me on my new job. Everything was great."
Gonzalez admitted that he had previously wondered if he could react in a civil manner while running into Loria for the first time since being fired.
Two days after being eliminated from the postseason, the Braves surprised very few when they named him Bobby Cox's successor.
Along with Gonzalez, Braves second baseman Dan Uggla will also be experiencing a homecoming this week. The veteran second baseman spent his previous five seasons with the Marlins, who traded him to Atlanta in November.
Gonzalez and Uggla faced the Marlins during two Spring Training games, and again during a three-game series at Turner Field in April.
Two days after scare, Schafer back in lineup
NEW YORK -- After running in the outfield and passing other conditioning tests at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon, Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer simply laughed when manager Fredi Gonzalez then challenged him to a race.
But Schafer gladly accepted the opportunity to return to the starting lineup just two days after being struck in the face with a fouled bunt attempt.
"It's sore, but it's nothing I can't play with," said Schafer before serving as the Braves' leadoff hitter and starting center fielder in Sunday night's series finale against the Mets.
Before putting Schafer back in the lineup, the Braves ran him through a series of drills to see how he would react after increasing his heart rate. The 24-year-old outfielder rode a stationary bike, ran some sprints, and even slid in the outfield with Gonzalez and members of the Braves' medical staff watching.
Schafer has said numerous times that he feels very fortunate that he simply suffered a non-displaced sinus fracture after Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese's fastball grazed his bat and smacked him in the face on Friday night. The amount of initial swelling led doctors to believe he broke his nose.
"Considering everything we thought could have happened, he's good," Gonzalez said. "Let him in there. I don't want him sitting around thinking about stuff."
Schafer was encouraged that he has gone more than a day without any headaches. While he still had some swelling and just a little discoloration under his right eye, he was confident he was ready to return to full-time duties.
"I slept good last night," Schafer said. "I went to bed pretty early. When I woke up, I moved around a little bit and felt fine. I got here early and rode the bike and ran a little bit. Everything is good to go."
Trio of Braves rehabbing in Florida
NEW YORK -- While their Braves teammates are in the midst of a 10-game road trip, Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Kris Medlen are at the club's Spring Training complex attempting to rehab their respective injuries to move closer to returning to action.
Hoping to return from Tommy John elbow surgery around the first week of August, Medlen was cleared to begin facing live hitters last week. But like many other pitchers recovering from this surgery, he experienced a setback while throwing a bullpen session at Turner Field on Tuesday afternoon.
"He cut his bullpen back a little bit, but there were no red flags," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's just something that happens. Nobody was really worried about it."
Heyward, who is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, and McLouth, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, are both eligible to come off the DL before the Braves open a three-game series against the Marlins on Tuesday night.
But Gonzalez said Sunday afternoon that he did not believe either of these outfielders had even started taking batting practice yet. Both will almost certainly have to play a few Minor League games before being activated.
For now, Gonzalez wants Heyward and McLouth to continue receiving all of their treatment at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"They'll join us when they start getting closer to baseball activity or start getting closer to needing to go on a rehab assignment," Gonzalez said.
Mike Minor carried a perfect game into the seventh inning of Triple-A Gwinnet's win on Sunday over Buffalo. Minor ended up allowing just one hit in eight scoreless innings. The 23-year-old left-hander will likely return to the Atlanta rotation to start against the Astros on Saturday. ... Chipper Jones was left out of Sunday night's lineup to rest. With Monday's scheduled day off, the 39-year-old third baseman was given an opportunity to rest two consecutive days. ... Right-handed pitcher Brandon Beachy could begin throwing live batting practice Tuesday or Wednesday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.