LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves pitcher Mike Minor will have spring-training debut delayed by at least a week or two after having a medical procedure on his urinary tract Dec. 31, which prevented from working out in January and led to some shoulder soreness when he resumed throwing.
The Braves had the left-hander rest during the first week of training camp, and Minor is back long-tossing from 120 feet without any difficulties and believes he’ll rejoin the rotation within two weeks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he thinks Minor can avoid starting the season on the 15-day disabled list.
“He could start the season with us, and we think he will,” Gonzalez said. “Because if you look at the schedule we don’t need a fifth starter till around (April) 10th, 11th, or 12th, right around there. We we can bump him back all the way to there, or we can plug him in anywhere we want to.”
Because the Braves have off days in the schedule April 3 after a three-game opening series at Milwaukee and April 7 after a three-game series at Washington, they could use four starters without having any pitch on short rest until an April 12 home game against the Nationals, the 10th game of the season.
“I think I’ll be ready,” said Minor, who believes he’ll be ready to start within two weeks and could make his regular-season debut on April 12 or sooner. “Either way, I’m going to be fine.”
Minor, 26, had a cystoscopy performed Dec. 31 by a specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, after having difficulty urinating for the past two years. He had visited multiple urologists and other specialists in that period, and none could figure out what was causing the problem.
It worsened to the point where he had to go to the emergency room, and a specialist at Vanderbilt said he had scar tissue built up inside his urethra that would have to be removed via the cystoscopy. He was told there was a 50 percent chance that it could return at some point, and that it was impossible to predict when.
When he resumed throwing he had shoulder soreness that led the Braves to rest him in the first week of training camp. Minor said the shoulder was sore from his trying to rush back after not doing any throwing in January. He normally begins his offseason throwing program just after Christmas.
Minor, a former Vanderbilt standout and native of Chapel Hill, Tenn., was 13-9 with a 3.22 ERA in 32 starts last year in his third full season in the majors. He had 181 strikeouts in 204-2/3 innings, and he’s penciled in for one of the top three spots in the Braves rotation along with Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen.
The Braves will open the Grapefruit League season on Wednesday with veteran starter Freddy Garcia pitching against Detroit at Champion Stadium, followed in the rotation by Medlen against the Tigers at Lakeland, Brandon Beachy against the Astros, Teheran vs. the Nationals, and Alex Wood and David Hale in March 2 split-squad games against the Tigers and Astros.