» More: Keuchel pitches seven scoreless, one-hit innings for Rome
Keuchel said the communication with the Braves "kind of died down a little bit" in mid-to-late April. The closer the amateur draft drew, the less likely it was that a team would sign him before then because it would lose a draft pick as compensation for doing so. Compensation no longer applied as of June 3, the first day of the draft, and 72 hours later Keuchel and the Braves agreed on a $13 million contract for the rest of the season.
“It’s a tough gig with a draft pick attached to you,” said Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner. “It’s been a weird couple of offseasons. There’s quite a few things wrong with the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) right now, but we won’t get into that. I mean, we can talk about that later.”
The subject clearly is a sore one.
“I’m kind of getting heated,” he said upon broaching the topic.
Keuchel pitched his first game in the Braves organization Monday night, working seven scoreless innings for the low-A Rome Braves against the Charleston RiverDogs, a Yankees affiliate. The 31-year-old left-hander allowed just one hit, struck out nine and walked one. He threw 77 pitches, 55 of them strikes, in a predictably dominant performance against the young RiverDogs lineup. It was Keuchel's first time on the mound in a game since the American League Championship Series last October.
Asked afterward how many more minor-league starts he’ll need before joining Atlanta’s starting rotation, Keuchel said: “That’s a really good question. I think (Tuesday and Wednesday) will really tell me how my body feels. ... But just thinking about it, maybe one more. But we’ll see.”