Help awaits struggling G-Braves

The Gwinnett Braves will have some reinforcements waiting for them when they get back to Coolray Field, which is a good thing.

They need some help right now.

Gwinnett finished its road trip with a 3-2 loss at Pawtucket on Thursday and has won just one of its past seven games while falling to 15-18 on the season.

But the G-Braves will have Atlanta shortstop Yunel Escobar in the lineup tonight when they open an eight-game homestand with the first of four games against Lehigh Valley and left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes is scheduled to pitch a couple of innings in a rehab outing.

Escobar, rehabbing a left abductor strain, is scheduled to play just one game in Gwinnett before coming off the Atlanta disabled list. When he is activated, though, shortstop Brandon Hicks will return to the G-Braves.

Also scheduled to join Gwinnett on Saturday is center fielder Jordan Schafer, who is coming back from wrist surgery. He is spending four days with Class AA Mississippi after starting his rehab with six games for Class A Rome.

Reyes sprained a knee in an Atlanta game at San Diego on April 12 and hasn’t pitched since. The left-hander is expected to pitch at least a few times for Gwinnett during his rehab.

The G-Braves need all the help they can get after falling into a funk after a five-game winning streak had appeared to right their season.

Gwinnett was 1-5 on the road trip to Syracuse and Pawtucket, with two games the victim of rain.

The weather should be better back home and the G-Braves are 8-7 at Coolray Field this year compared to 7-11 on the road.

Ryne Reynoso fell to 0-5 with the loss in the series finale Thursday against Pawtucket (15-19), but he deserved a better fate. The right-hander worked six solid innings, with one of the three runs against him unearned.

Gwinnett made it interesting in the ninth inning, leaving the bases after two were out on a double by Mitch Jones and walks to Brent Clevlen and Joe Thurston. Paw Sox reliever Joe Nelson stiffened, though, and got Clint Sammons to fly out, ending the game.

Jones had three doubles, raising his total to 13. But the G-Braves had just two other hits, both singles.

Gwinnett’s lineup has been struggling lately, with the team getting just four hits in a 6-0 loss to the Paw Sox on Wednesday night. The G-Braves scored just six runs in closing three of the four games at Pawtucket.

Fill-in shortstop Luis Bolivar’s throwing error was also costly in the series finale, resulting in a key early run in the one-run loss.

Barbaro Canizares had been a bright spot for the G-Braves on the trip, but his 10-game hitting streak was snapped Thursday.

Canizares will also see his playing time limited against Lehigh Valley because the DH won’t be used in the season’s first the matchup of National League farm teams at Coolray Field. The Iron Pigs are affiliated with the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

After the four games through Monday with Lehigh Valley, Columbus will come in for four games. The Clippers are a Cleveland farm team, so the DH will be back.