Gattis nearing return to lineup

Staff writer David O’Brien contributed to this report.

Evan Gattis took batting practice Thursday for the first time since he took ill shortly before the first pitch of Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers. Gattis said he’s regaining strength and expects to be back in the Braves lineup as early as Friday.

“Getting better,” Gattis said Thursday afternoon as he came off the field during batting practice. “I feel good. Today was precaution (extra day to rest).”

Gattis has missed the past three games with viral symptoms.

“I lost a little bit (of weight),” Gattis said. “It’s hard to eat. I had some stomach problems. Just getting my strength back.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hit Justin Upton in the cleanup spot without Gattis in the lineup Thursday and hit B.J. Upton in the No. 2 hole. When Gattis returns, Gonzalez is expected to move Justin Upton back into the No. 2 spot.