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SD@ATL: Minor strikes out six over 6 2/3 frames

One starter is trying to get back to his winning ways. The other is trying to stay there.

It'll be the Braves' Mike Minor facing the Dodgers' Dan Haren on Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game set at Turner Field.

The Braves skipped the scuffling Minor's last start, while Haren ended a five-game losing streak in style -- holding the Angels to three hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings.

Minor will try to deliver a similar bounce-back performance against the Dodgers. He entered this season having posted a 2.90 ERA in his previous 47 starts (going back to July 5, 2012). He produced a 3.07 ERA in his first seven starts this year, but he has a 7.33 ERA in the 10 starts that have followed.

"I've been struggling lately because I feel like I've been trying to place [pitches] a little bit more, instead of throwing," Minor said. "I think if I take care of that, I'll be OK."

With the Braves skipping his last start, the left-hander has been working in side sessions, trying to regain his confidence and form.

"I talked to a lot of teammates, coaches and family members," Minor said. "But it just comes down to me and executing pitches. I think a lot of it has been in my head about whether I should do this or that or how I should attack hitters. I've had a lot of input of what I should be doing. But I think I should just do my own thing. That's what I did last year."

Minor could perhaps follow Haren's model, as the veteran righty did some tinkering of his own leading up to his previous start.

Before Wednesday against the Angels, Haren had posted a 10.03 ERA during his five-game skid, and questions surrounded his place in the starting rotation. The Dodgers have acquired two new starters since -- Roberto Hernandez from the Phillies and Monday night's starter, Kevin Correia, from the Twins.

But Haren offered a resounding case for why he should continue to get the ball, retiring the first 16 Angels he faced and holding the powerful trio of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hitless.

"I'm really happy for Danny," manager Don Mattingly said. "A lot of guys have been thinking, 'What should we do?' and justifiably. He knows he hasn't pitched well lately. But you know Danny is going to give you everything he's got."

Haren couldn't pinpoint exactly what fueled his turnaround, but he said he was going to watch film and try to do it again.

On Tuesday, he'll get that chance.

Dodgers: Barney could see time at shortstop
Although Miguel Rojas will mostly man shortstop while Hanley Ramirez is on the disabled list with a right oblique muscle strain, Darwin Barney also has experience at the position.

"I'm not sure we're as comfortable with Darwin at this point as we are with Miggy," Mattingly said. "I haven't seen [Barney] play short, and Miggy's pretty dang good. Darwin's probably a little bit different offensive player. He's been more established in the big leagues and things like that."

Barney, a former Gold Glove Award winner at second base, has played shortstop, second base and third base during his career, but he prefers the middle-infield spots.

"I will try to move him around a little bit," Mattingly said. "Just talking with him, he's not as comfortable at third as he is at short and second, so primarily [we'll play him there]. We don't really have that need with Justin [Turner] and [Juan Uribe], so third base is not really a major concern. It'll be more short and second with him."

Braves: Simmons could return Tuesday
Just before the Braves began Monday afternoon's batting practice at Turner Field, Andrelton Simmons provided clear indication that he was not worried or burdened by the left ankle sprain he suffered last week.

Any lingering concerns the Braves might have had seemed to evaporate as Simmons spent the next hour jogging, fielding ground balls and taking batting practice without any hint of discomfort. Barring an overnight setback, the shortstop will likely return to Atlanta's lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers.

"He's getting close," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If it's not [Tuesday], it will be Wednesday. But at the very least, he is progressing well."

Monday marked the first time Simmons returned to the field since turning his ankle as he stepped on third base while playing defense on Aug. 5 in Seattle.

Worth noting:
• The Dodgers optioned right-hander Pedro Baez to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday to make room on the roster for Correia.

• Minor is 1-1 with a 2.32 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers. Comments