DUNEDIN, Fla. –Injuries or trades before the start of the season could alter things but, as of now, the Braves are set with their top four starting pitchers to begin the season.
Right-hander Julio Teheran is tentatively scheduled to start opening day at Miami on April 6 followed by left-hander Alex Wood, right-hander Shelby Miller, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and a fifth starter to be determined.
“We have got to wait to see how those guys come out of these last couple starts,” Gonzalez said. “We still have time if someone needs an extra day because of something minor, (then) we can make an adjustment. So as soon as those guys come out of their starts and we know they are healthy for the next one, we will plan it out. I don’t think there is going to be anything crazy.”
Gonzalez said he hasn’t decided on a fifth starter. The leading candidates appear to be veteran lefty Eric Stults and Mike Foltynewicz, the big-armed righty prospect acquired from Houston in the Evan Gattis trade.
Stults has been steady throughout the spring while posting a 2.57 ERA over 14 innings with 16 hits allowed, four strikeouts and three walks.
Foltynewicz, 23, struggled in his first two outings, settled down for his third, and then allowed five hits and three runs over 2 2/3 innings against the Phillies on Tuesday. For the spring he’s posted a 7.04 ERA over 7 2/3 innings with 15 hits allowed, 10 strikeouts and seven walks.
Both Stults and Foltynewicz are scheduled for at least one more lengthy start in Grapefruit League play. Two other candidates for the No. 5 starter are Chien-Ming Wang and Cody Martin.
“I think No. 5 is still up in the air,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously we can’t give it too much more time. I think here in the next three or four days we will come up with the plan is. “
The Braves have a day off on April 9 before their home opener the next day and another off day on April 16, so they could skip the No. 5 starter once or twice during the first two weeks.
“But we probably won’t,” Gonzalez said. “Go with five.”
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