Markakis on track to return vs. Nationals

Culberson named Clemente Award nominee; Minter shut down

September 12th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- inched closer to making his return from the injured list Thursday, successfully navigating a pregame workout for a second straight day.

After taking live batting practice on Wednesday, Markakis took additional BP on Thursday, while also going through baserunning drills that included sliding.

"He did everything -- ran the bases, slid, hit again. He was good," manager Brian Snitker said. "So we’ll evaluate tomorrow when we get to DC and see how he is, but everything went great. He felt good after yesterday, went through the gamut again today, so we’ll just wait and see when he shows up how he feels tomorrow."

While Markakis remains on track to return for this weekend's series against the Nationals, he'll rejoin the lineup playing left field instead of right. The plan is to keep Matt Joyce as the right fielder when the Braves face right-handers. It remains to be seen whether Markakis will shift back to right field when Joyce is out of the lineup against lefties or if he will stay in left field.

"We’ll try him out in left for now, that’s for sure," Snitker said.

Joyce entered Thursday hitting .351 with a 1.034 OPS and five homers in 30 starts this season. He has hit .305 with a .900 OPS over 97 plate appearances since Markakis' injury.

As for Markakis' move to left field, it's not completely uncharted territory for the 14-year big league veteran, but it is close to it. He started three games in left field last season during the Braves' Interleague series in Boston from May 25-27. Prior to that, his only Major League experience in left field came during his rookie season in 2006, when he made 26 appearances (24 starts) in left for the Orioles.

Markakis is a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, including last season with the Braves. He took home the award in 2011 and '14 with Baltimore.

Culberson named Braves' nominee for Roberto Clemente Award

was named the Braves' nominee for the 2019 Roberto Clemente Award, the most prestigious individual award for Major League players. Culberson was among the 30 nominees -- one from each team -- announced on Thursday.

The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Culberson will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to Atlanta's game on Wednesday against the Phillies at SunTrust Park.

“It’s pretty special,” Culberson said. “When they told me not too long ago, I was pretty excited. I never do things to get recognized. I don’t do that. There’s a lot of good people here, and I have a lot of good people around me, helping others. I enjoy being there for everybody else. So to be nominated for this award, it's pretty special."

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be selected via a blue ribbon panel, including Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB.com, as well as Vera Clemente (the late Roberto’s wife and MLB Goodwill Ambassador). Beginning today, fans can vote for the overall winner of the Roberto Clemente Award via a dedicated website. The site will feature bios of each of the nominees and will allow fans to vote until the end of the season on Sunday, Sept. 29. The winner of the fan vote will count as one vote among those cast by the blue ribbon panel. Fans are encouraged to vote by visiting mlb.com/clemente21.

The concept of honoring Major League players for their philanthropic work was created in 1971 as the “Commissioner’s Award.” The recognition was renamed to the “Roberto Clemente Award” in ‘73 in honor of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in ‘72 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

The Braves have had three players win the overall honor: John Smoltz (2005), Dale Murphy (1988) and Phil Niekro (1980).

“I think being in this position, there are a lot of things we can do," Culberson said. "I think giving your time is most important. Giving your time, it doesn’t matter who it is -- it can be your teammate, a friend, people you don’t even know -- I think it goes a long way and that’s something I strive to do every single day."

Injury updates

• Left-hander was placed on the 60-day injured list prior to Thursday's game due to left shoulder inflammation. Minter will finish the season with a 7.06 ERA in 36 appearances. He was sent to the Minors twice, and he had made just two appearances since rejoining the big league club on Sept. 3.

• The Braves activated southpaw from the 60-day IL. Dayton, who had been sidelined with a fractured toe, had a 2.16 ERA in 10 appearances with the Braves prior to the All-Star break.

, who left Wednesday's game with a right shin contusion after fouling a ball off his leg, remained sore on Thursday and was undergoing further tests prior to Atlanta's series finale against the Phillies.

"It was still sore to walk on," Snitker said. "But I guess if the tests are clean, it’d just be a day-to-day thing."