Gant (oblique) joins cluster of Braves on DL

June 28th, 2016

ATLANTA -- With Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Matt Wisler leading the way, the Braves exited May feeling good about how their starting rotation was shaping up for both the present and the future. Although they have won with much greater frequency over the past couple of weeks, however, they now find themselves with three starting pitchers on the disabled list.

John Gant became the most recent member of this group on Tuesday, when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the left oblique strain he sustained during Monday night's start against the Indians. Casey Kelly was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to provide bullpen depth.

"It's usually a hitting thing, but they're just such a touchy thing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said before Tuesday's game vs. Cleveland. "It's going to be a while, probably."

Along with enduring injuries to Foltynewicz, Gant and Williams Perez, the Braves also need to fill the rotation spot that was opened when Aaron Blair was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett this past weekend.

"I think we need to stay with that, personally," Snitker said of keeping Blair in the Minors. "We didn't the last time, and he went three innings. He needs some starts down there. We need to think of him more than our needs right there in that situation."

Joel De La Cruz, who has posted a 2.16 ERA over his past five appearances (four starts) for Gwinnett, appears to be the likely candidate to start in place of Blair on Wednesday night against the Indians.

After being used as a reliever when he was at the big league level during this season's first two months, Gant took advantage of the injuries that depleted Atlanta's rotation and showed some promise as a starting pitcher. The 23-year-old right-hander limited the Mets to one run over 6 2/3 innings on June 17 and pitched effectively into the sixth inning of last week's start at Miami.

The Braves have not set a timetable for Gant's potential return, but oblique injuries usually sideline pitchers for at least a month.

Bud Norris' resurgence and Teheran's extended success have enabled the Braves to maintain some consistency within their starting rotation.

Foltynewicz has not been bothered by the right elbow bone spur that sidelined him at the beginning of June, but he is expected to make at least one more rehab start before returning. Perez, who strained his right rotator cuff on June 6, will likely not rejoin Atlanta's starting rotation until after the All-Star break.