Opening Day first day in bigs for Braves trio
MILWAUKEE -- As the Braves prepared for Monday's Opening Day game against the Brewers, Gus Schlosser, Ian Thomas and Ryan Buchter sat in the visitors' clubhouse at Miller Park and soaked in their respective first official day as Major Leaguers.
"The beds [at the hotel] are amazing," Thomas, the Braves' No. 12 prospect as ranked by MLB.com, said. "This is the first time I have ever had my own room. The treatment here is a lot different than anything I experienced in independent ball or the Minor Leagues. But I don't want to dwell on all of that. I just want to do my job and stay here."
Thomas and Schlosser made solid first impressions as they combined to work a scoreless seventh inning during their respective big league debuts in Monday's 2-0 loss to the Brewers. After Thomas surrendered a one-out single, Schlosser showed the value of his sinker by getting Rickie Weeks to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Thomas -- who began the 2012 season with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League -- Schlosser and Buchter were all informed that they had gained spots in the Braves' bullpen on Saturday.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had already confirmed a few days earlier that Schlosser would begin the year at the Major League level. But this welcome news was a surprise for Buchter, who was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett last week. He was recalled to Atlanta to fill the void created when Cory Gearrin suffered what appears to be a season-ending right elbow injury.
"The past couple of days have been a wild roller-coaster ride," Buchter said. "I had kind of been out of the mix for a couple of days. But you've got to keep a clear head, because you don't ever know what is going to happen."
Given that the Braves would like him to address his command issues in the Minors, Buchter might be sent back to Gwinnett when Ervin Santana makes his expected season debut next week. But Buchter should have a chance to celebrate his rise to the big leagues with friends and family members who are expected to travel from the Philadelphia area to Washington D.C. for this weekend's series against the Nationals.
While Thomas and Buchter give Atlanta lefty middle-relief options, Schlosser could spend the next couple weeks as a long reliever and then transition into a middle-relief role. But due to their lack of depth in the rotation, the Braves could choose to keep him stretched out as a starting pitcher.