Brandon Beachy on track to make 2013 debut June 18

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Brandon Beachy is almost fully recovered from last June’s Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.

According to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the right-hander threw five scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon in his second minor league rehab start with Low-A Rome and is currently in line to make his season debut for the Braves on June 18 — after only three more rehab outings.

“If there are no setbacks or anything, it would be a perfect fit,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the current June 18 target date. “But we know about perfect fits, and that’s why I do all my stuff in pencil.”

Beachy has experienced no lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired elbow up to this point. He had an ace-like 2.00 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 68/29 K/BB ratio in 81 innings last season before going under the knife.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.