The Mets face (l to r) Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Tim Hudson the opening three games of the series.METS (43-51, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (55-43, first place/NL East)
Braves short hops
• The depleted Braves outfield is expected to get Jason Heyward back Monday from a right hamstring strain, which he suffered sliding into third base on July 11. Heyward is due to play center field, where he has only appeared in four career games at the major league level. Heyward will return to right field once B.J. Upton returns from the disabled list.Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
Freddie Freeman had to sit out the All-Star Game with a thumb injury.
• Left-hander Paul Maholm was sent home to Atlanta to have his sprained left wrist checked, leaving in doubt his availability for Thursday’s start against the Mets. Brandon Beachy or rookie Alex Wood are the likely alternatives if Maholm is unable to start. Maholm injured the wrist batting July 10. He then departed Saturday’s start when the issue flared up. He is 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA this month.
Beachy has made eight minor league starts since returning from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Wood, a southpaw, had been dispatched to Triple-A before the All-Star break to get continued work.
• Freddie Freeman, who attended but could not participate in the All-Star Game due to injury, returned Saturday after missing two starts with a jammed left thumb. He had suffered the injury applying a tag at first base. Freeman had beaten out Yasiel Puig in the “Final Vote” among fans for an All-Star Game berth. He was replaced by teammate Brian McCann. Freeman entered Friday’s game as a defensive replacement and had a first-base collision right away with Adam Dunn, but showed no ill effects.
• McCann has homered in three of his past four games.
• Left fielder Justin Upton returned Friday after missing the final two games before the All-Star break with a calf injury.
• Backup catcher Gerald Laird left Sunday’s game with a bruised left hand in the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch. Evan Gattis returned Sunday after missing 24 games with a right oblique strain. Gattis had started the game in left field before shifting to first base once Laird departed.
• Second baseman Dan Uggla has 19 homers, matching his 2012 total.
• Closer Craig Kimbrel has converted 17 straight saves. Since blowing a save on May 7 at Cincinnati, Kimbrel has allowed one run and 12 hits while striking out 36 in 23 innings.
Kimbrel is the first player in franchise history to reach the 20-save plateau in each of his first three seasons in the majors. With three more saves, he will match John Smoltz as the only closers in Braves history with three 30-save seasons.
• Atlanta’s 29 come-from-behind wins lead the National League.
• Reed Johnson has five hits in his past six pinch-hit appearances.