NEW YORK -- Freddie Freeman has realized some relief since the Braves' medical staff opted to put some cortisone in his left index finger on Saturday night. If he continues to improve, there is a chance he could return to the lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Yankees.
"I'm going to have to play through pain the rest of the year," Freeman said on Monday afternoon. "But we've got to get it to a point where I can play through it."
Freeman was fortunate to avoid sustaining a fracture when his left hand was hit with a Jose Reyes throw as he slid into second base on June 7. But he continued to battle discomfort and swelling for more than a week and has not been in the Braves' starting lineup since last Tuesday.
Braves hand specialist Dr. Gary Lourie evaluated Freeman again on Saturday before the 22-year-old first baseman received two cortisone shots in his left index finger.
Beachy has partially torn elbow ligament
NEW YORK -- An MRI performed on Monday revealed Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He will visit Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday to learn whether he will need to undergo Tommy John surgery.
The Braves announced the results of the MRI after Monday night's 6-2 loss to the Yankees. With six losses in their past seven games, they now face the possibility of losing Beachy for at least the remainder of this season.
While some members of the organization were holding out hope, hours before this announcement Braves general manager Frank Wren said about Beachy's situation, "It's kind of hard to be real optimistic right now."
If Beachy needs to undergo Tommy John surgery, he will likely need 12 months to recover. There is a chance Andrews will suggest that they wait a few more weeks before determining if surgery is necessary. But this decision could delay his return in 2013 if it is eventually determined he needs to undergo the surgical procedure.
Beachy's future has been clouded with uncertainty since he was forced to exit Saturday night's start against the Orioles with elbow discomfort.
Beachy, who leads the Major Leagues with a 2.00 ERA, felt some right elbow discomfort during his June 8 start against the Blue Jays. The symptoms at that time provided reason to believe he was dealing with bone spurs. Thus the decision was made to give him three extra days of rest leading into this past Saturday's start.
Beachy retired each of the first 11 Baltimore hitters he faced on Saturday and then threw consecutive curveballs in the dirt to begin Chris Davis' two-out, fourth-inning plate appearance. His fastball then dipped down to 86 mph before he ended his outing by walking Davis.
Simmons downplays great play at shortstop
NEW YORK -- Many have marveled at the diving stop Andrelton Simmons made to end the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon's loss to the Orioles. Count the Braves rookie shortstop among the few who were not impressed by the latest indication that he is a special defensive player.
"Shortstops are supposed to make that play," Simmons said.
Told of Simmons' confident assessment, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "Good, I'm glad he thinks that way. I'll hold him to it."
While creating this defensive gem that he is downplaying, Simmons left his feet as he dove to his right to catch Adam Jones' sharp grounder. When the baseball took a sudden hop and nearly went behind him, the 22-year-old shortstop stretched his left arm above his head and secured it before making a strong throw to retire Jones.
"If I had to run farther or go deeper, maybe it would have been a better play," Simmons said. "But he hit it pretty hard, so I didn't have to move that much.
Looking to add a right-handed bat to the lineup he constructed to face Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia on Monday, Gonzalez opted to start David Ross at catcher and use Brian McCann as his designated hitter.
Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Orioles was the Braves' second consecutive shutout loss. According to the Elias Sport Bureau, the last time they had been blanked in consecutive games was to the Brewers from June 5-6, 2009.
The Braves entered Monday having allowed 120 of their 178 runs with two outs. That was the fourth-highest mark in the National League and the sixth-highest mark in the Majors.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.