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G-Braves notes: Kotchman to make G-Braves rehab start

LAWRENCEVILLE - Atlanta Braves first baseman Casey Kotchman will make his first of two scheduled rehab starts with the Gwinnett Braves today against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Kotchman, on the DL with a sore calf after being hit by a pitch in Arizona, is eligible to return to the major leagues on Tuesday.

He worked out with the G-Braves during a rain-shortened batting practice Friday, taking ground balls at first base. His arrival in Gwinnett coincides with the call-up of Barbaro Canizares on Thursday and helps relieve the day-to-day loss of Wes Timmons. Timmons strained his hamstring during Tuesday's day game and stayed out of the lineup Thursday and Friday.

Kotchman was hitting .277 with two home runs and 24 RBIs with Atlanta before his injury.

Another new starter

The always-changing names and faces in the G-Braves starting lineup add another tonight with the arrival of Jonny Venters from Mississippi.

Venters, who missed 2006 recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and most of 2008 with tendonitis in the same elbow, comes to Gwinnett with a 4-4 record and a 2.67 ERA in Mississippi. When healthy, the Kentucky native put up good numbers in the Braves' system. In 12 starts and 23 appearances in Rome in 2005 he went 8-6 with a 3.93 ERA and in 2007 he went 3-3 in 17 appearances with a 3.93 ERA at Myrtle Beach.

And another injured starter

Recently called up Deunte Heath left his second Class AAA start with one out in the fourth on Thursday and the tightness in his shoulder will now keep him out of his next start.

The right-hander from Covington threw 74 pitches including six straight balls to end his start against Scranton.

"I am going to take a couple of days off and I am going to miss one start and I should be fine," Heath said. "I just got tight, (my arm got) stiff on me, it just never loosened up. The pitch count was high so that played a factor."

Heath was 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 starts in Class AA Mississippi. He has two no decisions in as many starts with the G-Braves.