ATLANTA -- When Braves backup outfielder Jordan Schafer doubled off Carlos Marmol to begin the ninth inning of Monday night's 10-inning win against the Marlins, Jason Heyward looked toward the dugout and saw manager Fredi Gonzalez give him the choice to either swing away or attempt to advance Schafer with a sacrifice bunt.
After choosing to do the latter, Heyward popped his bunt up to Marmol, who caught the ball near the mound. The decision drew great scrutiny throughout the ninth inning that concluded with Chris Johnson grounding out with the bases loaded.
"I did not want to not get [Schafer] over with a strikeout," Heyward said. "I wanted the ball to be in play there. I wasn't thinking negative-type [thoughts] in general. I was just overthinking the situation. Looking back on it, it wouldn't have hurt just to pull the ball again."
Heyward halted a 3-for-32 skid with Sunday's three-hit game, and then lived up to his reputation as a pull hitter when he delivered a go-ahead single to right field in Monday's seventh inning. Instead of attempting to hit another ball to the right side, Heyward opted to put himself in an unfamiliar situation. He has recorded just one sacrifice bunt during his Major League career.
"You're almost better off trying to bunt for a hit rather [than a sacrifice]," Heyward said. "I feel I'm more than capable to get the bunt down. I feel like I'm more than capable of getting him over. I feel like I'm more than capable of getting a hit there. All the above. I was trying to play the game. I tried to do a little bit too much with the situation."
Gonzalez understood the reasoning that influenced Heyward's decision to bunt.
"I left it up to him," Gonzalez said. "Whatever he wanted to do, whatever he felt comfortable doing there. You don't want to play extra-inning games and the chances of scoring a run from third base is greater than scoring a run from second base, especially with a guy like Marmol. With a guy on third base, maybe you take one of his breaking pitches away or his split because he doesn't want to bounce it and let the runner score there. That was fine. I had no problems whatsoever."
One more rehab start before Minor's return
ATLANTA -- Mike Minor was looking forward to the chance to make his regular-season debut this weekend against the Reds. But the Braves have decided Minor will instead make one more Minor League start.
Minor will attempt to throw somewhere between 90-100 pitches when he takes the mound on Friday night to start Double-A Mississippi's game in Pensacola, Fla. Including the Braves Futures Game he pitched on March 29, this will stand as the sixth start he has made during a rehab stint that has essentially served as his Spring Training.
"Coming out of Spring Training, you usually get six starts," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "So, let's keep it that way. We'll give him [another] start and then he'll be ready to come in."
If Minor gets through Friday's start without any setbacks, he could join Atlanta's starting rotation as early as April 30.
"It's their final decision," Minor said. "I feel good and that's what I told them. But they want to err on the side of safety and precaution and make sure I'm OK."
Minor has gone nearly two months since last feeling any discomfort in his left shoulder, which proved to be tight during the early days of Spring Training. The tightness has been blamed on the month-long stretch of inactivity Minor experienced after undergoing a Dec. 31 urinary tract procedure.
Had Minor started one of this weekend's games against the Reds, the primary concern would have centered around his durability. Given that he has not thrown more than 80 pitches during any of his rehab starts, Minor likely would not have been available to throw much more than 90 pitches in his season debut.
With Minor now set to make another rehab start, the Braves will not have to deal with the possibility of playing three straight games in which they would have been sending a starter to the mound with two extra days' rest.
Such would have been the case for Minor or Ervin Santana had either started Saturday's game against the Reds. With Monday's off-day, Alex Wood and Aaron Harang would have also been lined up to start the first two games of next week's series in Miami with two extra days' rest. Santana will now start Friday's series opener against the Reds with one extra day of rest. Julio Teheran and Wood are in line to start the final two games of the series on regular rest.
Uggla, Fredi offer take on transfer rule
ATLANTA -- Late last week, Major League Baseball informed each of its 30 clubs that there could soon be some adjustments made to rules involving home-plate collisions and transfer plays.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Braves have watched a number of players affected by the transfer rule, which has gained a different interpretation since the expanded instant replay system was put in place at the start of this season.
During the eighth inning of Monday night's 10-inning win over the Marlins, Dan Uggla became the latest to run into trouble with this new interpretation. Uggla dropped the baseball as he transferred it out of his glove in an attempt to complete what would have been an inning-ending double play. Second-base umpire Marvin Hudson ruled Uggla possessed the ball long enough to record an out. But Hudson's ruling was overturned after Marlins manager Mike Redmond's challenge resulted in a replay review.
"I don't like the rule," Uggla said. "That's been an out since the beginning of time. I don't agree with it. You can go around the league and probably 100 people out of 100 or however many people are in the big leagues -- players, coaches, staff -- I'm sure will agree with me. Whoever has had a problem with it so far, I'll agree with them."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sympathizes with the players who have been affected by this new interpretation of the transfer rule. But until the rule is adjusted, he will continue to preach the need to be extra cautious. Gonzalez said he has gone as far as to tell his outfielders to be careful about how quickly they flip a ball into the stands after catching a ball to end an inning.
"I think the transfer rule should be distinguished between a [caught] ball and a thrown ball," Gonzalez said. "Let that stand where it has been. A batted ball, let's let that one stand where you have to catch it and you've got to come out with it. Let the actual thrown ball [on] a double play, just let that be where it has been for 100 million years."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.