When the Atlanta Braves inked free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana to a 1-year contract back on March 12th, it was generally expected that he would not be able to join the rotation until mid-April at the earliest, but now, there is a report circulating that Santana could make his debut a little bit early.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) April 1, 2014
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Santana will throw a near-full game with triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, and if things go swimmingly in that outing, there is a real chance that the right-hander could pitch for the big league club on Wednesday, April 9th against the New York Mets. The Braves have been able to generate a 1-1 mark in the early going, but the back-end of the current rotation is ugly (David Hale and, to a lesser extent, Aaron Harang), and Santana would be a huge lift.
In 2013, the 31-year-old Santana had one of the best seasons of his career, posting a 3.24 ERA over 211 innings with the Kansas City Royals, and the Braves are banking on that level of production after giving him $14.1 million to rescue their injured rotation. It remains to be seen how effective he will be upon arrival, but that debut could be coming in short order.