Flowers to have left hand examined

Flowers to have left hand examined

CHICAGO -- The Braves will wait to see if Julio Teheran pitches in Tuesday's All-Star Game before announcing the order of the rotation they will use when they begin the season's second half on Friday night against the Rockies at Turner Field.

An MRI exam is scheduled for Monday in Atlanta to determine whether Tyler Flowers will be available to serve as Atlanta's catcher during that series opener against Colorado. Flowers exited Saturday's game against the White Sox with a strained left hand. He was not feeling much relief when he returned to U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday, but the Braves remain hopeful he can avoid the disabled list.

Flowers is dealing with the lingering effects of being hit on the hand with the first of the two A.J. Ramos pitches he was hit by during last weekend's series against the Marlins. He aggravated the hand when he took a check-swing during his first plate appearance on Saturday.

If Flowers is forced to go on the disabled list, the Braves may promote Blake Lalli from Triple-A Gwinnett. Anthony Recker would be another option, but he was placed on Gwinnett's temporarily inactive list with a non-health issue on Wednesday.

The Braves' rotation will not include Williams Perez or John Gant when the second half resumes. Perez has been sidelined since June's first week with a strained right rotator cuff. He recently began his throwing program, but has not yet started throwing off a mound.

Gant will likely be sidelined at least a couple more weeks with the left oblique strain he suffered on June 27. The rookie right-hander is scheduled to begin a throwing program on Monday. If all goes well, there is a chance he could begin making rehab starts at some point during the following week.

The Braves have been encouraged by the fact that Shae Simmons' right shoulder has reacted favorably since he started throwing off a mound again last week. Simmons' attempt to return from Tommy John surgery has been shut down twice over the past six weeks because of shoulder discomfort he has felt during rehab stints. The multiple setbacks has created some doubt about whether the right-handed reliever will stay healthy enough to join Atlanta's bullpen at some point this season.

Veteran left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty has made three rehab appearances for Class A Rome and could soon be ready to return from the right knee strain that led him to be placed on the disabled list a month ago. But because Atlanta already has three effective left-handers -- Dario Alvarez, Ian Krol and Hunter Cervenka in the bullpen -- there might not be room for O'Flaherty to remain with the Braves.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.