What looked to be a starting pitching deficit for the Atlanta Braves during spring training has turned into a surplus, or at least it will if/when Mike Minor makes his scheduled return to the rotation next week (you can find Braves tickets for next week’s home games at the link.)
Minor, who began the season on the disabled list suffering from shoulder tendinitis, has made three successful rehab starts and hopes to rejoin his teammates next week and take the mound on April 23 against Miami or April 25 against Cincinnati, says David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If Minor does return, it presents a problem that seemed unlikely when the season began – the Braves will have too many quality starting pitchers.
The makeshift rotation, left in a shambles with the season-ending injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, has a major league leading 1.80 ERA, and has helped lead the Braves to a 9-4 record to open the season, putting them in a familiar spot atop the NL East.
Early indications are that David Hale would be the first candidate to be bumped from the rotation, although he has pitched as well as just about any other starter the Braves have sent to the hill this season.
Both Hale and Aaron Harang (who has a subterranean 0.96 ERA through three starts) will be looked at closely in their next starts to help manager Fredi Gonzalez make a determination upon Minor’s return.