Minor poised to return; Floyd needs more time
NEW YORK -- Mike Minor took the mound at Triple-A Gwinnett's Coolray Stadium on Saturday night knowing that the Braves are planning to activate him from the disabled list within the next week.
Minor surrendered a pair of first-inning runs and then held Charlotte scoreless over the remainder of his six-inning effort. If he rebounds from this 80-pitch outing without any problems, he could make his first start for Atlanta as early as Friday.
There was some thought that Gavin Floyd might also join Atlanta's starting rotation by the end of this month. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he now expects Floyd to make at least two more Minor League starts before completing his bid to return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
Floyd allowed four earned runs while throwing 84 pitches over 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi during Friday night's loss to Huntsville. He surrendered one run through the first four innings and then allowed four of the six batters he faced in the fifth inning to reach safely.
"He pitched well," Gonzalez said. "He left with the bases loaded and two outs because his pitch count was right where he wanted it to be. Then [the bullpen] ended up giving up all of his runs. His velocity was good and all of his breakdown of pitches for strikes were right where we wanted them to be. So, he was good."
While posting a 5.27 ERA in his first four Minor League rehab starts, Floyd has yet to complete as many as five innings. Given that he is preparing to enter a one-year contract, the 31-year-old right-hander wants to make sure he has completed all necessary preparations before returning to the Major League level.
If Floyd is not deemed ready until some point in May, the Braves will have more time to determine how to fit him in their starting rotation, which entered Saturday with a Major League-best 1.47 ERA. Minor is expected to replace David Hale.
But with Aaron Harang proving dominant in his first four starts of the season, the Braves do not apparent option to make room for Floyd in the rotation.