LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Dansby Swanson has spent the past couple days resting a sore back, the Braves are comforted by the fact that the shortstop has spent the past couple weeks making his normal preparations. Unfortunately for the team, the same can't be said of prized relief
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Dansby Swanson has spent the past couple days resting a sore back, the Braves are comforted by the fact that the shortstop has spent the past couple weeks making his normal preparations. Unfortunately for the team, the same can't be said of prized relief prospect A.J. Minter, who has been bothered by nerve inflammation in his left forearm since the start of Spring Training.
While Minter does not know when he might be cleared to throw off of a mound, Swanson is hoping to return to the Braves' lineup within the next couple days. His back began to stiffen after playing nine innings for the first time this year during Saturday's game against the Marlins. He registered four plate appearances and was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.
"There's no need to push it past something and make it something serious," Swanson said. "It's just kind of a day-by-day thing for me."
Minter's status is more concerning because he is just two years removed from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old southpaw said the Braves' medical staff has diagnosed him with radial tunnel syndrome, which essentially causes some discomfort near the top of the forearm.
Since being prescribed a dose pack earlier this week, Minter has experienced some relief. He hopes to begin playing catch again on Thursday, but it's too early to know when he might be cleared to begin pitching again.
"It feels fine pitching," Minter said. "It's just kind of after the fact, it gets irritated. So, we're just taking it slow … I'm already starting to feel better. It should be cleared up right away."
Minter felt some discomfort during the first week of camp, but he progressed to the point where he was aiming to make his Grapefruit League debut at some point this week. This plan changed late last week, when his forearm did not react favorably to a live bullpen session completed the previous day.
Widely considered the best relief prospect the Braves have produced since Craig Kimbrel, Minter has the capability to reach the Majors this season. He did not pitch without more than two days of rest in 2016, as he posted a 1.30 ERA over the 34 2/3 innings combined at the Class A, Class A Advanced and Double-A levels.
"I want to get out there and pitch, but there's still no need to rush," Minter said.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.