Refusing to let multiple injuries slow them down, the Atlanta Braves starting pitchers have been among the best in baseball in the early going and the group is about to get a little better as Mike Minor should make his return from the disabled list this week. Minor, who’s been on the DL since late in Spring Training with shoulder tendinitis, is tentatively scheduled to make his season debut for the Braves on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Minor’s season debut had initially been planned for either Wednesday against the Miami Marlins or Friday against the Reds, according to Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, but the team had to shift gears when his latest rehab start was pushed back from Friday to Saturday due to rain. That eliminated the possibility of him starting on Wednesday. The team appears to favor Saturday instead of Friday as it would let them keep Ervin Santana (Friday’s likely starter) on his normal rest. Minor will instead be the one to get the extra day or rest.
David Hale was originally slated to take his next turn in the rotation on Saturday, O’Brien notes, but it’s unclear exactly what the Braves plans for their rotation are with Minor’s return. Hale has experience both starting and relieving so the team will have options to consider if they don’t want to option him back to Triple-A.
Minor made 32 starts for the Braves a season ago, posting a 3.21 ERA and 1.090 WHIP across 204.2 IP. It was easily the best season-to-date of Minor’s young career and the second consecutive year in which he’d led the Braves’ staff in innings pitched. The tendinitis in his pitching shoulder flared up early in Spring Training and O’Brien hints that the team feels it was just a case of him trying to do too much, too soon. Minor hadn’t been able to complete his normal offseason routine following emergency urinary tract surgery in late December.