The Braves will be getting a key pitcher back on Tuesday. The Atlanta Braves have activated pitcher Gavin Floyd from the 15-day disabled list, the team announced on Sunday. Floyd will start in place of Ervin Santana on Tuesday at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. In a corresponding move, the Braves have optioned pitcher Ian Thomas to Triple-A Gwinnett.
According to Carroll Rogers of AJC.com, Atlanta chose to send down Thomas in order to let him develop a slider. Thomas had been primarily fastball, change-up and the occasional curveball. He is scheduled to start for Triple-A Gwinnett and he is expected to throw three innings or forty-five pitches on Tuesday. Thomas had spent three years in the Independent Leagues in Canada before being signed by the Braves in 2012. He had never pitched above Double-A, until he made the opening day roster for Atlanta.
Gavin Floyd is starting in place of Ervin Santana on Tuesday for precautionary reasons. Santana will be skipped in the rotation because he suffered a bruised thumb during an at-bat last week. He is expected to make his next scheduled start. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he tentatively expects Ervin Santana to make his start on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Santana has had a spectacular year so far, compiling a 2-0 record along with a stellar 2.41 ERA. Santana signed a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the Braves in February.
Gavin Floyd has not pitched in the big leagues in over twelve months due to him undergoing Tommy John surgery, which ended his season last year for the Chicago White Sox. Floyd became a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, and he signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Braves.
In his short showing in 2013, Floyd went 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts. Floyd has declined since his terrific 2008 campaign in Chicago where he went 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA. In his ten year career, he has an even 70-70 record with a 4.48 ERA along with a career 7.1 K/9. It is believed that even with a good showing, Floyd will shift to a long relief role in the bullpen as the Atlanta rotation is stacked with Ervin Santana along with Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Alex Wood and Aaron Harang.