Chopcast: Braves could face juggling act with rotation

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

ATLANTA -- Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy is scheduled to make what could be his final rehab start since undergoing Tommy John surgery Wednesday night for Triple-A Gwinnett. If indeed it is his final rehab appearance -- and if indeed the organization intends to insert him back into the starting rotation, as expected -- it's once again decision time.

But things are slightly different this time around.

Unlike when Beachy was nearing his expected return date (before experiencing elbow tenderness), the Braves pitching staff is not at full strength at the moment.

Paul Maholm was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with a left wrist contusion and is expected to miss at least two starts. Rookie pitcher Alex Wood is set to start in Maholm's place against the Mets on Thursday. So does that set up for Beachy to take up the role in the latter of the two "available" starts? Could someone else's starting job be in jeopardy? The Chopcast team -- Zach Dillard, Cory McCartney and Jay Clemons -- weigh in on the potential options. Here are the highlights:

-- Is it safe to presume that once he's healthy, Beachy will step into Maholm's role on this staff? Is another starter in the mix for such a "demotion"?

-- Should Kris Medlen's recent struggles put him into the Beachy-returns-to-the-rotation conversation? What are the potential pitfalls of sending last season's second-half Cy Young to the bullpen (or elsewhere)?

-- How do these potential moves affect the future of the Braves' rotation?

-- Where does Tim Hudson, who, along with Maholm, is due to be a free agent after the season, fit into Atlanta's equation in 2014 and beyond?

-- Is anyone other than Bill James surprised with Andrelton Simmons' overall power numbers this season?