Rest day for Simmons, McCann

With the off day coming Thursday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez rested both Andrelton Simmons and Brian McCann Wednesday so they would have back-to-back days to rest and recover a bit.

Both are OK to play but are a little “banged up” from last week’s series in Washington. McCann’s knee started bothering him after playing on what he said is a really hard surface in the area around home plate at Nationals Park. Simmons fouled a ball off his left leg in his last at-bat Wednesday against Nationals reliever Craig Stammen.

“He plays so hard and he’s a little banged up right now,” Gonzalez said of Simmons. “We’ve done it in the past with him, keeping an eye on him and give him a little breather. Same thing with Mac, (rest) him today then with the off day tomorrow give him two days and keep him fresh, charged up for the rest of the season.”

Gonzalez gave Paul Janish his first start of the season at shortstop and had Evan Gattis behind the plate. Simmons had started the Braves previous 29 games since sitting out a July 10 game in Miami.

“He’s fine to play,” Gonzalez said. “He even gave me the old bottom lip when I told him he wasn’t playing, but we’ve got to take care of him. Give him a breather every once in a while.”

Gonzalez said he can’t watch Simmons sometimes, given the reckless abandon he plays with - like when he slid headfirst into first base trying to beat out a ground ball Monday night.

“I almost killed him when he slid head first,” said Gonzalez, who said TV microphones could pick him up yelling “No!” “For about the 100th time we’ve told him….I’ve gotten to the point where boys will be boys. It’s a situation where if they hurt themselves they hurt the team. What can you do?”