After a long and winding road to MLB employment in the 2014 season, right-hander Ervin Santana is set to make his Spring Training debut with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez has just announced that RHP Ervin Santana (@ErvinSantana_54) will start tomorrow’s game vs. NYM at Port St. Lucie.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 19, 2014
The 31-year-old Santana signed a 1-year, $14.1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves just over a week ago, and he is set to essentially take the place of right-hander Kris Medlen, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week. Santana had a tremendous season with the Kansas City Royals last season, achieving a 3.0 fWAR on the strength of a 3.24 ERA in 211 innings of work, and he has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career in the American League.
At the same time, he has also posted two seasons with an ERA over 5.00 in recent years, and that is a bit troubling for Braves fans. Still, he was by far the best option for Atlanta to turn to in the wake of their well-chronicled injury problems, and even if he isn’t available to start in a real, live game until mid-April, his signing looks like a victory for Atlanta’s front office.