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Braves Daily News Digest: 8/28

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This guy was the happiest about Simba's amazing play, because his start didn't go in vain.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Simba Makes Amazing Defensive Play To Help Braves Pick Up Win Over Mets

Andrelton Simmons added quite possibly the shiniest gem yet to his glimmering collection of defensive plays, and it came at a crucial point (bottom of the 8th, 2 outs, tying run on 3rd base) for the Braves. It preserved the lead, which Craig Kimbrel eventually nailed down to give the Braves another close victory over the Mets. Just in case you missed Simba's beauty of a play, here it is again. I've watched this 72 times now.

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Venters Gets Shut Down For The Season; Shae Still Needs More Time To Return

In news that shocks absolutely nobody, Jonny Venters has been shut down for the remainder of the 2014 season. The lefty was projected to return around June, but it appears that Venters will not return from his 2nd Tommy John surgery until at least 2015. Meanwhile, Shae Simmons still needs a bit more time to return from his injury, after he was prescribed rest for his sore shoulder. Frank Wren isn't convinced that Shae's injury is major, so there's hope that Shae could return soon.

Opponents Are Making Adjustments To TLS

Tommy La Stella has been impressive as a rookie so far this season. Even if he hasn't been spectacular, he's been steady at the plate and has been decent defensively, which is basically all the Braves asked of him back when they called him up. However, as expected, teams are starting to adjust their defensive approach to TLS, and TLS has noticed it:

"Have I noticed it?" [La Stella] said, smiling. "Yeah, they definitely know how to position the defense. They’ve got the spray charts and everything, it basically comes down to the statistics; the numbers don’t lie, pretty much. So yeah, I’ve definitely noticed that, too. It’s one of those things, all you can do is hit it hard, hopefully it falls for a hit."

Freeman: "If I'm Able To Play Every Day, I Will"

Through good times and bad, through thick and thin, one of the constants in this 2014 Braves season is the presence of Freddie Freeman at 1st base. He has played all 133 games this season, and leads the majors in innings played (he's only missed 2 innings all season. 2!). It's comforting knowing that the 1st baseman you handed a big-money contract extension to in the offseason is durable enough to play every game, and Freeman takes pride in it:

"I play first base, I’m 24 years old, I’m supposed to play every day," Freeman said Wednesday on his way to the field for batting practice at Citi Field. "I take a lot of pride in that I’m healthy this year. Unfortunately I did miss those two innings, but I think we had a three- or four-run lead in the top of the eighth, and I had a day game the next day, so I needed to get some ice on that.

"But I do take a lot of pride in playing every game."

How Will The Braves Build Their Future?

It's never too early to think about the future, and that's exactly what Scott did as he took a look at the potential paths that the Braves could take for building their team in the future. These paths include trading B.J. Upton (which the Braves are trying their hardest to do, apparently), trading Evan Gattis (preferably to an AL team so that he can be a DH), and dealing with the (probable) departures of Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. If the Braves can't make the best out of this situation to build, then the future could look a bit bleak for the team.

Grading The Braves Offseason Pickups

It's also never too late to look back to the past, and that's what Shawn did as he graded the Braves' acquisitions during the previous offseason. Some went well (such as the Freeman and Kimbrel extensions and the signings of Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana in the wake of Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen's injuries), and some didn't go so well (Gavin Floyd's injury-plagued tenure and Ryan Doumit being not-so-productive). As we all know, none of these moves were high profile, but nearly all of them had an impact on the 2014 Braves and their current position in the standings.


Cubs' Cuban Prospect Homers In First ML At-Bat

The Cubs have a pretty exciting future on their hands. They've been gobbling up top prospects left and right, and some of them are slowly but surely becoming MLB ready. One of those guys is Cuban prospect Jorge Soler, who made his Major League debut last night. He marked the special occasion with a special achievement: A home run in his first career at-bat.

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Inspired By Taney Dragons, Philly Sweeps Washington

The Fightin' Mo'Ne Davis's were at the Philadelphia Phillies game last night, as the team and the city honored them and their achievements at the Little League World Series. Obviously inspired by a baseball team that is much better than they are, the Phillies completed an extremely improbable sweep over the division-leading Washington Nationals. Although the division still seems to be a bit out of reach for the Braves at the moment, here's hoping that this swoon continues for Washington.