NEW YORK -- John Gant has not experienced much stability this season, as he has spent much of it routinely transitioning from Minor League starting pitcher to short-term Major League reliever. But when given a chance to make his second big league start on Friday night against the Mets, the
NEW YORK -- John Gant has not experienced much stability this season, as he has spent much of it routinely transitioning from Minor League starting pitcher to short-term Major League reliever. But when given a chance to make his second big league start on Friday night against the Mets, the Braves right-hander calmly indicated he was finally right where he belonged.
Unfazed by the emotions surrounding the challenge of proving himself to his current organization at the expense of his former employer, Gant surrendered two hits and allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings while helping the Braves notch their second three-game winning streak of the season with Friday night's 5-1 win over the Mets.
"I just like what he's capable of doing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He definitely doesn't get caught up in the moment, and I think he's a very confident kid. He doesn't seem to rattle. He stayed on the attack with all of his pitches."
Standing on the Citi Field mound for the first time since he had been brought to Queens for a workout before the 2011 Draft, Gant gave the Braves further reason to believe they gained more than just another arm when they acquired him in the trade that sent Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Mets last July. The 23-year-old right-hander surrendered a leadoff double to Curtis Granderson in the first inning and then retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced.
After Granderson scored in the first inning, the Mets didn't tally another hit until Asdrubal Cabrera doubled with two outs in the sixth inning. "I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to go out and do that," Gant said after notching his first career win. "It's awesome."
With Mike Foltynewicz and Williams Perez both on the disabled list, the Braves opted to fill one of the rotation spots with Gant, who had allowed three runs (two earned) on four walks and four hits over 4 1/3 innings in his first career start against the Cubs on Sunday. Besides that start, his only previous Major League experience consisted of seven relief appearances earlier this year, in which he recorded a 6.17 ERA and allowed opponents to post a .389 on-base percentage over 11 2/3 innings.
Though some scouts have suggested Gant profiles better as a reliever, he pitched effectively as a starter for Triple-A Gwinnett this year and more importantly, he showed on Friday night that he has an effective curveball to compliment his fastball and Vulcan changeup.
"He looked really confident," Snitker said. "I kinda felt that way his last time out. He just seemed to throw more strikes tonight. He's got a nice mix to keep guys off-balance, and I thought he did a nice job with that."
Though Gant feels comfortable as a member of the team he passionately followed during his childhood in Savannah, Ga., he hopes this latest outing can lead to some stability after being optioned to Gwinnett four different times this season.
"I've been doing a lot of traveling so far this year," Gant said. "It's nice to have this opportunity. It just feels so good."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.