David Hale got the nod Saturday as the Braves fourth starter, and is slated to start on April 4 in Washington against the Tanner Roark and the division rival Nationals. The Braves are opening the season with four starters who have a combined 366 major league starts – but 319 of those are from journeyman Aaron Harang.
So the Braves elected to go with a guy who had more major league experience in Hale, which is to say, some.
Hale made two starts for Atlanta late last season. Gus Schlosser hasn’t pitched above Double-A. But Schlosser, who impressed the coaching staff throughout spring training, is expected to be named to his first major league roster as the long man out of the Braves bullpen.
Hale impressed in his first two major league starts last year, allowing only one run in 13 innings against the Padres and the Phillies. He struck out 14 and walked only one, taking a no-decision against the Padres and his first major league victory in a spot start two weeks later against the Phillies.
Hale stayed behind in Florida after the Braves broke camp, and threw a simulated game on Saturday to get his work in in preparation of that April 4 start. Hale went 0-3 with a 6.62 ERA in five starts in Grapefruit League play.
Schlosser, 25, has pitched no higher than Double-A but brings the credentials as Braves pitcher of the year in both Double-A Mississippi and Single-A Lynchburg in his previous two minor league stops. He opened eyes this spring with a solid effort, going 0-2 with a 2.03 ERA over five games, including two starts. He allowed four runs (three earned) in 13 1/3 innings with five walks and 13 strikeouts.
Left-handers Ian Thomas and Ryan Buchter both made the roster as left-handed relievers, with Buchter getting recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to claim the spot vacated by Cory Gearrin, who has elbow ligament damage and will open the season on the disabled list.
PITCHERS (12): Luis Avilan, Ryan Buchter, David Carpenter, David Hale, Aaron Harang, Craig Kimbrel, Gus Schlosser, Julio Teheran, Ian Thomas, Anthony Varvaro, and Jordan Walden and Alex Wood.
CATCHERS (3): Ryan Doumit, Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird.
INFIELDERS (6): Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, Tyler Pastornicky, Ramiro Pena, Andrelton Simmons and Dan Uggla.
OUTFIELDERS (4): Jason Heyward, Jordan Schafer, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton.