WASHINGTON – The pitching lines didn't look good for Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd in their first minor league injury-rehab starts Thursday, but stats weren't important to Braves officials evaluating the duo.
Health and arm strength were.
“Both reports were pretty good,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who quickly upgraded that summary: “Both reports were really, really good. We had (minor league pitching coordinator Rich) Dubee in Triple-A watching and we had (special assistant) Rick Williams in Double-A watching, and the reports came back good.”
The timetable is still tentative for their returns, but Gonzalez indicated that Minor could be in the Braves rotation by late April, with Floyd perhaps a week later in early May.
Minor, who’s recovering from shoulder tendinitis, gave up four hits (including a double, triple and home run) and three runs in two innings for Double-A Mississippi in its season opener, with no walks and five strikeouts. He had been scheduled to pitch three innings or about 45 pitches, and left after throwing 39 pitches (26 strikes).
It was an odd couple of innings against Mobile for the left-hander, who struck out first two batters in first inning, then gave up the cycle of hits to next four batters. In the second inning, Minor struck out all three batters.
Floyd, who is 11 months into his recovery from Tommy John surgery, gave up two hits, two runs and two walks in 1-1/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in its opener at Durham. He had also been scheduled to throw up to three innings or 45 pitches, and was replaced after 42 pitches (21 strikes).
“They said in the first inning Gavin got a little excited — it was the first time he’s pitched in I don’t know how long,” Gonzalez said. “But he was good, and they both came out of it healthy which right now is what you want, for them to make the next start. They’ll go through their normal five-day preparation for the next start.”
The Braves could add former All-Star Ervin Santana to the rotation as soon as Wednesday in the second home game of the season. Santana was set to start Friday night for Gwinnett as he continues to build arm strength.
Santana signed with the Braves four weeks into spring training to replace Kris Medlen, who had season-ending elbow surgery.