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Braves' Gohara healthy, 'ready to go'

Left-hander could make first spring start on Sunday
MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Displaying some youthful exuberance, Luiz Gohara skipped away from one of the back fields at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex and headed toward another to complete some running exercises.

Gohara has provided every indication that he has distanced himself from the left groin strain that halted his normal preparations during the early portion of Spring Training. The big Braves southpaw passed one of his final recovery tests as he completed a pain-free live batting-practice session on Thursday morning. Barring any setbacks, he could make his first start of the spring on Sunday.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Displaying some youthful exuberance, Luiz Gohara skipped away from one of the back fields at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex and headed toward another to complete some running exercises.

Gohara has provided every indication that he has distanced himself from the left groin strain that halted his normal preparations during the early portion of Spring Training. The big Braves southpaw passed one of his final recovery tests as he completed a pain-free live batting-practice session on Thursday morning. Barring any setbacks, he could make his first start of the spring on Sunday.

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"It felt really good, and my stuff was working really well, too," Gohara said. "I think after this, I'm just ready to go out and pitch in games."

The Braves list Brandon McCarthy as the scheduled starter for Sunday's game against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., so Gohara may end up completing an inning or two that day against some Minor Leaguers. Regardless, it appears he's on track to make the progression necessary to be ready by April 10, which is when the Braves will first need to carry five starting pitchers.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Everything seemed to be going right for Gohara when he reached the Major League level in September and proceeded to complete at least six innings in four of his five starts. But when he returned to his native Brazil, he experienced an emotionally draining offseason.

Gohara's 58-year-old father suddenly fell ill and remained in bed for a few weeks before dying as the Braves pitcher was attempting to get him to a hospital. The 21-year-old hurler's winter got worse when his mother was diagnosed with a heart condition.

Shortly after arriving in camp and beginning his bid to lock up one of two available rotation spots, Gohara strained his left groin while running. His recovery put him approximately two weeks behind schedule. But if he is cleared to pitch on Sunday, he'll have time to make at least six starts before the Braves might first need him.

Video: Bowman on Gohara's father passing away in December

"They know I can pitch there, and they're going to give me the opportunity to pitch in Spring Training and show them I can make the roster," Gohara said.

Per Statcast™, Gohara's 96.5-mph average fastball velocity ranked sixth among all left-handed pitchers who threw at least 200 fastballs last season. After issuing four walks and lasting four innings in his Sept. 6 Major League debut, he recorded 25 strikeouts and issued just four walks over his next four starts (25 1/3 innings).

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Luiz Gohara