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Braves news and links: Shae Simmons begins rehab assignment

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The Atlanta Braves could be close to getting back another power arm for their bullpen

Atlanta Braves v Colorado Rockies

Braves News

Braves show some pop, but fall to Pirates 8-5

Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson both homered for the Braves but that wasn't enough to overcome a rough day on the hill by Williams Perez. Atlanta hit multiple homers in the same game for the first time since opening day.

Talking Chop Podcast Episode 13: Matt Wisler and Mike Foltynewicz finding success

Carlos and Brad come back after a week off to discuss the recent success of Matt Wisler and Mike Foltynewicz. The two touch on a multitude of other topics including Julio Teheran, Mallex Smith, Freddie Freeman, the outfield alignment in general and also answer a few of your questions from Twitter.

Mallex Smith gets day off, but ankle is fine

The Braves had a scare in Sunday's loss when outfielder Mallex Smith appeared to injure his ankle during the ninth inning on a run down play. Smith stayed in the game but was out of the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Pirates. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien reports that Smith's absence wasn't due to his ankle.

The ankle was good – he played the rest of that 13-inning loss and said he was fine afterward – but the Braves faced a second consecutive left-handed starter Monday, and this time without benefit of the designated hitter rule that enabled them to have an extra hitter in the lineup for the series at Kansas City.

While manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to play Smith occasionally against left-handers, for the most part it’ll likely be Jeff Francoeur in left field against lefties, with Ender Inciarte in center in those games and Nick Markakis as the every-day right fielder.

Braves' reliever Shae Simmons begins rehab stint

Shae Simmons began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday night and if all goes well could be back in the Braves' bullpen by June 1 according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

Simmons used three strikeouts to pitch around a leadoff triple and the two-out walk he issued while beginning his Minor League rehab assignment with a one-inning stint in Triple-A Gwinnett's 4-1 win over Durham on Monday night. The Braves will closely monitor his progress with the hope that the hard-throwing right-hander could join the big league club by the first week of June.

MLB News

Angels close to signing Tim Lincecum to major-league deal

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum is leaning towards signing with the Angels. Jeff Passan reports that it will be for a major-league contract.