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7/31/11: breaks down Bourn's trade to Braves

The Nationals and Braves were playing opposite roles leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline this weekend, with Washington moving a pair of veterans to contending teams while Atlanta picked up a new center fielder.

Michael Bourn is set to make his Braves debut in Monday's series opener at Nationals Park on pace for the best season of his career. The 28-year-old outfielder hit .303 in 105 games with the Astros, stealing 39 bases while being caught just seven times.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez is excited for the impact that a speedster like Bourn can have on the rest of the lineup.

"He gets on base and creates havoc," Gonzalez said. "Maybe some other guys get fastballs, because now we've got a legit threat."

"It's going to be a good thing for us I think, in the long run," said second baseman Dan Uggla. "Michael is established. He's one of the fastest guys in the league and plays an unbelievable center field. He's puts together good [at-bats] and gets on base."

Bourn, who was acquired for Jordan Schafer and three Minor League pitchers -- left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handers Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu -- will be making his Atlanta debut against struggling right-hander Livan Hernandez.

Hernandez hasn't won since June 26 and has allowed 17 runs over 26 2/3 innings in his last five starts, raising his season ERA to 4.19. His previous outing lasted just four innings, a rare occurrence for Hernandez, who is known for his workhorse abilities.

"The starting pitching hasn't been like we wanted it to be," said manager Davey Johnson. "Livo used a lot of pitches in four innings. I've never seen him around 80 pitches in four innings. He was close to 90, and I took him out. He is usually in the seventh inning by that time."

After two poor starts in a row, Jair Jurrjens brought his All-Star stuff against the Pirates last week, allowing just one run over seven innings. He hasn't lost since June 14 and will be going for his 13th win of the season when he takes the mound Monday.

Braves: Uggla extends streak to 22
• By Independence Day, Uggla's batting average sat at .173 and he had hit just 12 home runs with roughly half the season in the books. But he has since turned the corner, and on Sunday extended his hitting streak to a Major-League best 22 games.

"This is the right time to get going," Gonzalez said. "It really is."

Uggla has eight home runs during the streak.

Nationals: Zimmerman finally rolling
• With two more hits on Sunday, Ryan Zimmerman pushed his batting average to the .280 mark for the first time since June 22. Zimmerman has hit safely in nine straight games, putting his surgically repaired left abdominal tear behind him.

"When I first came back, I felt good enough to play and help, but any time you come back from surgery, it will take a while to get your body reacting right," he said. "The more I play, the more I get further away [from surgery], the more I feel back to normal."

Worth noting
• Chipper Jones made a pinch-hitting appearance again on Sunday, marking the fourth time he's pinch-hit over the last week. He hasn't started since July 25, his first day back from the 15-day disabled list (strained right quadriceps). He's not expected to be in Monday's lineup, though Gonzalez is hoping Jones will be ready soon.

"The thing we worry about is when we get him on the field, how will he react one way or the other?" Gonzalez said. "But we can't really tell [right now]."

• After having a six-game hitting streak snapped, John Buck got Sunday off and was replaced by Brett Hayes. After a tough first half in which Buck hit .220 over 82 games, the catcher is hitting .268 since the All-Star break.

• Every batter in the Braves' lineup collected a hit in Sunday's finale with the Marlins, but they couldn't convert their chances in a 3-1 loss. They out-hit Florida, 13-7, in the game.

• Left-handed reliever Atahualpa Severino, who the Nationals called up on Sunday, will be making his Major League debut the first time Johnson calls him to the mound. The 26-year-old has a career 2.96 ERA over 206 games in seven Minor League seasons in the Washington system.

• Brian Bixler, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to take the recently traded Jerry Hairston Jr.'s spot on the roster, got the start in center field Sunday and was 0-for-5 out of the leadoff spot. Comments