The Atlanta Braves suffered more than their fair share of injuries last season, particularly when it came to their pitching staff. This spring, four of those pitchers–Mike Minor, Gavin Floyd, Jonny Venters and Luis Vasquez–are all in the midst of rehab, and got some good news after mound work this week.
Venters and Minor both threw off the mound for the first time this year, a great positive step for two key guys in the Braves pitching staff. Floyd and Vasquez were both allowed to throw live batting practice. None of the pitchers experienced any discomfort or other issues.
Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell has to be happy with what he’s seeing from the four hurlers on their way back from injury.
“Everything was great,” McDowell told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. “They were healthy when they left the mound. Hopefully, they’ll be OK tomorrow.”
Floyd and Vasquez were both offseason acquisitions by the Braves, but Minor and Venters are both veterans of the club, and are considered some of the top pitchers in the organization.
With the departure of veteran Tim Hudson, the Braves are going to be looking for one of their young pitchers to step up and become the staff ace. In past seasons, it seemed that Minor may have been the guy to do that. Venters was considered one of the most formidable set-up men in all of baseball, coming in to set the table for All-Star closer, Craig Kimbrel.
Of all the four pitchers, Venters is facing the biggest hill to climb, with this being his second go-round with Tommy John surgery since 2005.