ATLANTA -- Lucas Sims experienced a week that might have seemed unrealistic just a few days earlier. Four days after being taken in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft by his hometown Braves, Sims was wowed by the opportunity to meet his idol, John Smoltz.
"This is surreal, honestly," Sims said. "This is a dream. I'm just taking it all in."
Taken with the 21st overall selection on Monday, Sims was present as the Braves inducted Smoltz into their Hall of Fame on Friday afternoon. A few hours later, he was shaking hands with his hero before batting practice at Turner Field and preparing to see Smoltz's No. 29 jersey retired.
Sims admitted he was nervous as he met Greg Maddux and finally had a chance to shake hands with Smoltz.
Maddux asked the 18-year-old product of suburban Atlanta's Brookwood High School if he was a cleanup hitter. When he replied, "No, I'm a pitcher," the legendary 300-game winner said, "Even better."
Sims received a $1.65 million bonus after signing with the Braves on Thursday. He will report to the team's Gulf Coast League club at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex on Tuesday.
Chipper begins three-game stint at Class A
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones played in what will likely be the first of three Minor League rehab games for Class A Rome on Friday night. The Braves' third baseman could be activated from the disabled list in time for Monday's series opener against the Yankees.
Jones recorded a single and drew two walks for Rome during Friday night's game against Augusta. The 40-year-old veteran played five innings before exiting. The remainder of his workload this weekend will depend on how his ankle and calf react.
Jones has always been reluctant to go on rehab assignments. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and the medical staff persuaded him that he needed to play at least three games to condition and regain some strength. He has had just one pinch-hit appearance since getting hit on the left calf with a line drive on May 18.
"It's not for the at-bats," Gonzalez said. "He could go, take BP for five minutes and be fine. But it's being on your feet for nine innings. Once you're in the game, you have to be able to stay out there for nine innings. You've got to get out there, get on your feet and build some stamina in his legs."
The Braves' medical staff evaluated first baseman Freddie Freeman on Friday and determined he could return to the starting lineup before the end of this weekend. Freeman was fortunate to simply suffer a bruised left hand after he was hit by a Jose Reyes throw while sliding into second base on Wednesday night. Freeman entered Friday's 4-3 win as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
Tom Glavine was unable to attend John Smoltz's Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday because he and his family scheduled a trip to Europe before the event was announced.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.