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Beachy in line for June 18 return to Braves

ATLANTA -- If all continues to go well in Brandon Beachy's minor league rehab assignment, the Braves won't have to worry about finding an extra starter for their make up doubleheader with the New York Mets at Turner Field on June 18.

Fredi Gonzalez has already penciled in Beachy's name -- if lightly -- to start one of those games.

"It would be a perfect fit," the Braves manager said Wednesday.

Of course, that is dependent on Beachy having no setbacks. So far, that has been the case.

Beachy, coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, allowed three hits over five innings in a 3-0 home victory for Class A Rome over Charleston on Wednesday in his second minor league start. He threw 68 pitches while striking out three and walking one.

The right-hander's command was better than it had been on Friday, when half of his 70 pitches were balls during a four-inning outing for Class AAA Gwinnett against Toledo. He allowed two hits and two runs in that game, striking out three and walking three.

Beachy is expected to need three more rehab starts, at least one back at Gwinnett.

The 26-year-old is tentatively set to pitch for Class AA Mississippi at Chattanooga on Monday, then start for the G-Braves at Coolray Field against Columbus a week from Saturday. If the schedule holds, a final rehab start would come on June 13 -- exactly a year after he hurt his elbow.

Beachy was leading the National League in ERA when he had to leave a start against Baltimore at Turner Field and he had reconstructive elbow surgery last June 16.

The Braves have had to use just five starters this season, but they have had plenty of turnover in the bullpen with both Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty lost to Tommy John surgery.

Jordan Walden, though, came off the disabled list on Wednesday, giving the Braves an experienced setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel. Cory Rasmus was sent back to the G-Braves to make room on the roster.