Chacin emerges as strong candidate for Braves rotation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — After the release of veteran pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Chris Volstad on Saturday, Jhoulys Chacin has emerged as a favorite to land one of the two available spots in the Braves starting rotation behind Julio Teheran, Bud Norris and Matt Wisler.

Chacin has pitched five scoreless innings in two appearances, including three innings of three-hit ball with one walk and two strikeouts Friday in a start against the Cardinals.

“Chacin was really good,” said Braves manger Fredi Gonzalez, who managed that split-squad team Friday. “He mixed his pitches well. I think he gave up (three) hits, and one was a bunt single on a (defensive) shift.”

Chacin, 28, was slowed by shoulder problems during the past seasons with Arizona and Colorado, after a career-best season for the Rockies in 2014 when he went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 197 1/3 innings. The Braves signed him to a minor league contract with a spring-training invitation after seeing him pitch well during the winter in Venezuela.

“He’s healthy again,” Gonzalez said. “He’s throwing the ball well, it’s got some life to it, his command is good. … Obviously we think so much of him that we made a couple of cuts of guys that were potential candidates for that spot. So those are good signs.”