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Injuries to rotation could give Gohara opening

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Luiz Gohara has the capability to fortify the Braves' bullpen because he can consistently provide multiple-inning appearances in high-leverage situations. But it looks like the talented young southpaw may best fit within Atlanta's rotation coming out of the All-Star break.

When Gohara returned from Triple-A Gwinnett last week, he said he was willing to be utilized as either a reliever or a starting pitcher. But the 21-year-old said he'd like continuity in one of the two roles and would prefer to be used as a starter.

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ATLANTA -- Luiz Gohara has the capability to fortify the Braves' bullpen because he can consistently provide multiple-inning appearances in high-leverage situations. But it looks like the talented young southpaw may best fit within Atlanta's rotation coming out of the All-Star break.

When Gohara returned from Triple-A Gwinnett last week, he said he was willing to be utilized as either a reliever or a starting pitcher. But the 21-year-old said he'd like continuity in one of the two roles and would prefer to be used as a starter.

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Gohara may soon get his wish as the Braves look beyond the upcoming All-Star break with the expectation Brandon McCarthy (right knee tendinitis) and Max Fried (blister) will still be on the disabled list. Highly regarded prospect Kolby Allard hasn't shown recent signs he's ready for a promotion, and Touki Toussaint will likely spend at least a month at the Triple-A level before being considered a candidate to be a starter or reliever at the Major League level.

As the Braves approach next week's All-Star break, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Julio Teheran and Anibal Sanchez stand as their only four healthy starters. This creates the likelihood Gohara will soon fill that fifth spot.

The Braves decided Foltynewicz will start Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays. There was some thought this assignment would be given to Gohara, who has made a pair of two-inning relief appearances since being recalled from Gwinnett on Wednesday.

But manager Brian Snitker opted to stick with Foltynewicz, who appreciated the decision to allow him to make this start on regular rest. Had the Braves opted to push him back to Friday, the recently selected first-time All-Star would have ended up making both that start and his first after the break with at least six days' of rest.

"I want to stay in a groove and then get this one over and get ready for [the All-Star Game]," Foltynewicz said.

Sanchez and Newcomb are lined up to start the first two games of this weekend's home series against the D-backs. Teheran will likely start Sunday on regular rest. But based on how the next few games go, Gohara could also be considered a candidate for that series finale.

Gohara might be more likely to start one of the first five games the Braves play coming out of the All-Star break. Exactly when he might start may be influenced by if Foltynewicz pitches during Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

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

Atlanta Braves, Luiz Gohara