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Braves waiting to see effects of Gattis' epidural shot

ATLANTA -- The Braves remain hopeful that Evan Gattis will return to their lineup during the latter portion of July. But manager Fredi Gonzalez said a timetable will not be known until the club's medical staff evaluates the effect of an epidural injection Gattis was scheduled to receive in his ailing back.

"I don't know if it's 15 days, 16 days, 19 days," Gonzalez said. "The only thing I know is he was going to get an epidural and then let it sit for three or four days and then after those three or four days or five days, they can give you a better read on a timetable."

Christian Bethancourt made his second straight start behind the plate for the Braves on Tuesday night. While Gerald Laird is expected to share some of the catching duties, Bethancourt could end up getting a majority of the time behind the plate in Gattis' absence.

Bethancourt has long been lauded for his rocket arm and the athleticism he provides behind the plate. But the 22-year-old catcher will need some time to get used to some of the tendencies and preferences of the members of Atlanta's pitching staff.

As Bethancourt struggled to get on the same page as Alex Wood during Monday night's win over the Mets, it harkened memories of nine days earlier when Julio Teheran struggled to communicate with Gattis. Fortunately for the Braves, Wood handled the situation in a more professional manner on the field and admitted after the game it would just take time for him and Bethancourt to regain the feel they had when they worked together for the first two months of last season with Double-A Mississippi.

"He's learning too," Wood said. "Every game and every start up here is a new experience. I think he's finding out it's a whole different game up here and it's one of those things where you see what works and what doesn't. [Monday night] was a good learning experience for both of us."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for
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