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Schafer in for B.J., as Simmons moved to two-hole

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Though his club already had two off-days through the regular season's first nine days, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elicited the expected explanation when he said his decision to replace B.J. Upton with Jordan Schafer in Wednesday night's lineup was a product of his desire to get his reserves some playing time.

In other words, he did not say this decision had anything to do with the fact that Upton has extended last year's struggles by hitting .138 and striking out 13 times through his first 29 plate appearances.

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ATLANTA -- Though his club already had two off-days through the regular season's first nine days, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elicited the expected explanation when he said his decision to replace B.J. Upton with Jordan Schafer in Wednesday night's lineup was a product of his desire to get his reserves some playing time.

In other words, he did not say this decision had anything to do with the fact that Upton has extended last year's struggles by hitting .138 and striking out 13 times through his first 29 plate appearances.

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"It was more about putting Schafer in there and getting four at-bats and getting him into the flow of things," Gonzalez said. "Tomorrow, B.J. will be back in there. Hopefully, he can run off 12 or 13 [games] in a row."

While the Braves will hold out hope for Upton to produce a rebound season, there is certainly reason to wonder whether Gonzalez will continue filling his lineup's second spot with Upton. Andrelton Simmons moved from eighth to second for Wednesday night's game against the Mets.

Simmons, whose limited plate discipline led to an unsuccessful stint in the leadoff role last year, entered Wednesday having not struck out in his first 27 plate appearances.

While his ability to consistently put the ball in play might be appealing in the two-hole, Simmons has also produced the team's second-highest ground-into-double-play percentage (13.9) since the start of the 2013 season.

"He doesn't strike out," Gonzalez said. "This is just for today. It's not like it is set in stone for the next nine months. He's doing a nice job in the eight-hole. It's just today. But I think I've gotten to where I would probably hit him anywhere in the lineup."

Though the sample sizes are too small for any statistic to be telling at this point of the season, Gonzalez has reason to evaluate his lineup makeup. The Braves entered Wednesday having scored a Major League-low 15 runs -- their lowest total through a season's first seven games since 1980.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter.

Atlanta Braves, Andrelton Simmons, B.J. Upton