PHOENIX -- Braves manager Brian Snitker was not ready to commit to who will fill the rotation spot opened when Jaime Garcia was traded to the Twins on Monday afternoon. But it appears Aaron Blair will get at least one chance to reintroduce himself to Atlanta's rotation.Blair completed just one
PHOENIX -- Braves manager Brian Snitker was not ready to commit to who will fill the rotation spot opened when Jaime Garcia was traded to the Twins on Monday afternoon. But it appears Aaron Blair will get at least one chance to reintroduce himself to Atlanta's rotation.
Blair completed just one inning during Sunday's start for Triple-A Gwinnett because the Braves wanted him to be available if necessary to make what would have been Garcia's next scheduled start -- Wednesday afternoon against the D-backs at Chase Field.
Although Blair appears to be the strong favorite to get the starting assignment against his former organization on Wednesday, the Braves might give that start to Lucas Sims, who impressed with nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings against Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.
Sims has recorded 47 strikeouts, issued just seven walks and posted 3.47 ERA over his past seven starts for Gwinnett. The 23-year-old right-hander was selected by the Braves in the first round (21st overall) of the 2012 Draft. MLBPipeline.com ranks him as the 20th-best prospect in Atlanta's system.
The rotation void could eventually be filled by one of the controllable front-line starting pitchers available leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Oakland's Sonny Gray appears to be the Braves' top target.
Because the Twins assumed the remainder of the Garcia's salary, the Braves gained a $4.75 million savings with this trade. The financial flexibility enhances the options they could pursue in the starting-pitching market.
The Braves recalled Matt Wisler from Gwinnett to fill Garcia's roster spot on Monday and provide some bullpen depth during this week's series against the D-backs.
Blair's stock has dropped since he was acquired with Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte in the blockbuster trade that sent Shelby Miller from Atlanta to Arizona during the 2015 Winter Meetings. The 25-year-old right-hander produced a 7.59 ERA in 15 starts for Atlanta last year, but he has not yet made a big league appearance this year. He has posted a 4.86 ERA over 18 starts for Gwinnett.
Odds and ends
• Snitker opted to give Inciarte a chance to rest as he started Danny Santana in center field for Monday's series opener against the D-backs. Inciarte had been in the starting lineup for 96 of the Braves' first 97 games.
• Braves backup catcher Kurt Suzuki was reinstated from the bereavement list and Anthony Recker was optioned to Gwinnett. Recker was then traded along with Garcia to the Twins. Suzuki was away from the team this weekend as he attended his grandfather's funeral.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.