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Gohara to begin leisurely rehab assignment

Prospect to make first of at least 4 Minors starts Tuesday; Anibal allowing Braves to be patient
MLB.com @mlbbowman

CHICAGO -- Luiz Gohara is set to make the first of what will likely be at least four Minor League rehab starts. But with Anibal Sanchez proving thus far to be an adequate replacement, the Braves can currently plan to take a patient approach with Gohara.

Though he has made just five Major League starts, it would not have been ridiculous to peg Gohara as one of the key rotation pieces at the start of Spring Training. But the big left-hander has remained in relative obscurity as he has spent the past two months dealing with injuries suffered in camp.

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CHICAGO -- Luiz Gohara is set to make the first of what will likely be at least four Minor League rehab starts. But with Anibal Sanchez proving thus far to be an adequate replacement, the Braves can currently plan to take a patient approach with Gohara.

Though he has made just five Major League starts, it would not have been ridiculous to peg Gohara as one of the key rotation pieces at the start of Spring Training. But the big left-hander has remained in relative obscurity as he has spent the past two months dealing with injuries suffered in camp.

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Gohara was limited by a strained left oblique muscle during the first two weeks of camp. Then, two days before he was scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League start, he sustained a left ankle sprain that caused him to spend the remainder of camp rehabbing on the Minor League side of the team's Spring Training facility.

Fully recovered, Gohara is set to come back into focus when he begins his Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday night for Triple-A Gwinnett. The southpaw will now essentially follow the same progression he would during Spring Training. He could be deemed ready once he reaches the point where he's completed five innings at least once and increased his pitch count to 90-plus.

"He's right on schedule to take him through the end of the month and into May," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Gohara proved to be one of the game's hardest-throwing left-handed starting pitchers as he completed at least six innings in four of the five starts made after he debuted in September. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the game's 49th-best prospect and the 4th-best left-handed pitching prospect.

Sanchez signed a Minor League deal with the Braves near the end of Spring Training and earned the chance to fill the rotation spot that had been earmarked for Gohara. The veteran righty limited the Rockies to two runs over five innings as he made his first start last weekend. He then followed that impressive effort by tossing six scoreless innings against the Cubs on Friday.

Video: ATL@CHC: Sanchez fans six over six shutout frames

Inciarte sits: Snitker said he opted to leave Ender Inciarte and Preston Tucker out of Saturday's lineup because he wanted to take advantage of the chance to start Peter Bourjos and Lane Adams against Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana.

But regardless of the primary reason for this decision, it was one that might give Inciarte a beneficial mental rest.

Inciarte has hit .179 and produced a .242 on-base percentage while manning the leadoff spot for the first 13 games of the season. The Gold Glove outfielder capably hit left-handed pitchers over the past season and a half. But he has gone 1-for-12 with two walks in 14 plate appearances against them this season.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Luiz Gohara