IT’S OPENING DAY!!!
Atlanta Braves take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 2pm Eastern today in Milwaukee.
Injury-riddled Braves kick off campaign against Milwaukee
The injury-riddled defending National League East champions get their campaign started on Monday with the first of three games against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Atlanta lost starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery early in spring training and most recently reliever Gory Gearrin has been diagnosed with what the team is describing as a “serious elbow injury” .
“We’ve kind of eaten through our depth,” Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. “It looked like we were in pretty good shape coming into spring training with some guys about to get healthy and all of a sudden the next thing you know we’re pretty thin.”
Atlanta countered its losses in the rotation by agreeing to a deal with righty Ervin Santana, but the injuries have tempered expectations for a club that last year went 96-66 and won the division by 10 games.
Atlanta Braves starting rotation stitched together
Newcomer Gavin Floyd, already recovering from Tommy John surgery when the Braves signed him, is expected to return before the end of April.
The Braves also signed veteran right-hander Aaron Harang, who was released during spring camp by Cleveland at his request. He was considered a better option than Freddy Garcia, 37, whom Atlanta released to the surprise of some, considering the injuries that thinned their staff.
Harang, who will be 36 in May, has been part of six organizations over the past calendar year. He will start the third game of the season-opening series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon. Lefty Alex Wood, who made 11 starts among his 31 appearances in 2013, is filling the second spot in the rotation.
The good news for the defending NL East champions is they have a budding ace in right-hander Julio Teheran (14-8, 3.20 ERA as a rookie last year), who will start the season opener Monday against the Brewers at Miller Park. And team Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk made it clear that expectations for the club were not lowered by the series of pitching injuries this spring.
“We’re not in a rebuilding mode,” said McGuirk. “We’re in a winning mode.”
Kellam grad Ian Thomas makes Atlanta Braves’ roster
Left-hander Ian Thomas, a Kellam High graduate who pitched at Virginia Commonwealth, will open the season in the major leagues.
The Atlanta Braves purchased his contract from Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday as they broke camp and headed to Milwaukee for Monday’s opener against the Brewers.
Thomas, who will turn 27 on April 20, has never pitched above the Double-A level. He went 7-8 with a 2.76 ERA for the Southern League’s Mississippi Braves last season.
“He’s left-handed. Had some quality outings. … He has weapons,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Thomas, who will work out of the bullpen, was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 11 appearances this spring. He gives the Braves three players from South Hampton Roads, joining the Upton brothers – B.J. (Greenbrier Christian) and Justin (Great Bridge).
Tags: Atlanta Braves