A.J. Minter likely to return Thursday

Atlanta Braves pitcher A.J. Minter loosens up his arm throwing in the field during spring training Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The Braves bullpen might soon get its needed reinforcement.

Left-hander A.J. Minter will throw a live batting practice in Gwinnett on Tuesday. If he proves past his shoulder discomfort, he could return to the majors Thursday.

“But it’s not anything set in stone yet,” Minter said. “I’ll let (manager Brian Snitker) and (general manager) Alex (Anthopoulos) make that decision. I’m just trying to get back as soon as possible.”

Minter, who handles co-closer duties with Arodys Vizcaino, would be a welcome return for a struggling bullpen. The Phillies demolished Braves pitching — which was again plagued by walks (20) — in a three-game sweep.

The Braves have been buying time until Minter and other arms, namely Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman, can come back. But with Darren O'Day still sidelined, Minter represents the franchise's best internal upgrade to the relief group.

“It was hard,” Minter said of watching the Phillies series. “I felt for them. But at the same time, I’ve been in that situation. I’ve been there when you lose the game. It’s a bad feeling. But I feel like this bullpen is pretty special. We know what we have. We all root for each other. We’re a close-knit team.”

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