ATL@HOU: Gonzalez discusses Upton brothers, Harang

CHICAGO -- Three hours before a game, a Major League clubhouse usually is bustling with activity, but the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field was nearly empty at noon CT Friday for a 3 p.m. start.

The Braves had a night game in New York on Thursday and didn't arrive at their hotel until about 2:30 a.m. Nearly all the players opted for the late bus -- arriving at the stadium just before 1 p.m. -- and the team didn't take batting practice.

The Cubs don't play night games on Fridays, necessitating the quick turnaround.

"It kind of reminded us of the old Minor League days," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It keeps us grounded a little bit. Sometimes you get spoiled in the big leagues. I think it's good to come in at 2:30 in the morning and crank it up for a day game the next day. We used to do that in the Minor Leagues all the time."

Actually, it could have been worse. Until this season, the Cubs had an agreement with the city to play Friday day games at 1:20 p.m.

"That might have been even better," Gonzalez said. "Give us a little more of a reminder. Usually [in the Minors], you're on a bus for 12 hours and you come in at 3 in the morning."

Gattis cleared for baseball activities

ATL@PHI: Gattis strikes out, leaves game with injury

CHICAGO -- Catcher Evan Gattis (bulging disk in lower back) was cleared on Thursday to begin some light activity, and he spent Friday at the Braves' Class A affiliate in Rome, Ga., about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta.

"[Gattis is] not playing," manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the Braves' game against the Cubs on Friday.

"He's just gonna go up there and take some swings, and hopefully, progress from there. Maybe take some balls off the tee. I don't think he's gonna do anything on the field. He may, depending how he feels, but it won't be anything major.

"That's as far as we've got right now."

Gattis has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 1 (retroactive to June 29). Getting cleared for activity is a good sign, but it doesn't mean he's ready for action just yet. There's no timetable for when he will begin a rehab assignment.

"I think we'll wait this weekend and see how he feels," Gonzalez said. "He may swing today and not feel good, or he may swing today and say, 'Maybe tomorrow I can take some BP on the field.'

"If everything progresses well, we could do a rehab assignment [with Rome] or anyplace else. But anyway, we're not even close to that."