The Braves got one of their top bullpen arms back yesterday in the form of A.J. Minter. Minter was activated off the Injured List and made his season debut in the ninth inning, sealing the sweep of the Cubs. It started shaky, with two walks, but Minter was able to regroup, force a groundout and strikeout the final batter to end the game. On Friday, the Braves will be getting one of their top starters back.
Kevin Gausman is penciled in to start the series opener against the Miami Marlins. The former Baltimore Oriole, who was acquired by the Braves at last year’s trade deadline, began feeling shoulder soreness in early March. For any pitcher that’s worrisome, but Gausman felt a sense of relief when the notorious Dr. James Andrews reaffirmed the issue was nothing significant. Gausman’s been working cautiously ever since but says he feels more than ready to take the mound at SunTrust Park on Friday night.
“I know that feeling when everything is going good in spring,” Gausman said. “I’ve had that multiple times. I wish I could have started one of the first few games, but I feel really good about where I am.
The 28-year old right-hander is entering the final year of his contract before becoming a free agent. Last year, Gausman had ten starts for the Braves and went 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA. The switch from the AL East to the NL East paid its dividends; however, being in the NL East won’t be much of an advantage this season, as the Mets, Nationals, and Phillies all made substantial additions to their clubs. Regardless, the Braves rotation has been spotty, to say it kindly, and they are hoping the returns of Gausman and Ace, Mike Foltynewicz, will bring some stability to the group.
Speaking of Foltynewicz, he was dominant in Gwinnett, making his second rehab start. This time he made it through five innings throwing just 56 pitches. Folty did not allow a hit, walked two and struck out two. The Braves plan to start him in Gwinnett one more time, and if all goes well, he will be back in Atlanta as scheduled by mid-April.
(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
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