Gwinnett Braves Announce 2014 Opening Day Roster
The Gwinnett Braves, in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, have announced their Opening Day roster for the 2014 season. Manager Brian Snitker’s club includes 12 players that spent time with Gwinnett last year, including 2013 International League midseason All-Star Ernesto Mejia and 2013 IL postseason All-Star Joey Terdoslavich. Newcomers include catcher Christian Bethancourt and infielder Tommy La Stella, ranked the Braves’ No. 2 and 9 prospects by Baseball America, respectively.
Additionally, the G-Braves will open the season with right-hander Ervin Santana on the roster. Santana, signed by Atlanta as a Major League free agent on March 12, was optioned to Gwinnett on March 29 as a part of his continued preparation for the regular season. The nine-year Major League veteran went 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two Spring Training starts with the Braves.
Snitker is joined on the Gwinnett coaching staff by fourth-year pitching coach Marty Reed, first-year hitting coach Garey Ingram, sixth-year trainer Mike Graus and first-year strength and conditioning coach Jason Curry.
2014 Gwinnett Braves Opening Day Roster (*On Braves 40-man roster)
Catchers (2): Christian Bethancourt*, Steve Lerud
Gavin Floyd to Start Gwinnett Opener on Thursday
Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Gavin Floyd is slated to make his first minor league injury rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves on Thursday, April 3 at 6:05 PM in Durham, NC. Floyd is on Atlanta’s disabled list as he recovers from 2013 “Tommy John” surgery.
The 31-year-old pitcher has not pitched in a professional game since tearing his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon in his right elbow on April 27, 2013. He left the game against Tampa Bay after 2.2 innings and was placed on the Chicago White Sox’ disabled list the following day. He underwent successful “Tommy John” surgery May 7, 2013, performed by Dr. David Altchek.
Prior to his April 27 start, Floyd was 0-3 with a 4.98 ERA in four starts with the White Sox. He finished the season 0-4 with a career-high 5.18 ERA, snapping his string of five consecutive seasons with double-digit wins.
Floyd joins Gwinnett for the first time in his career, and will make his first start at the Triple-A level since 2007 when he was a member of the Charlotte Knights. In his minor league career, Floyd has made 63 appearances in International League competition, going 21-19 with a 4.67 ERA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2004-06) and Charlotte (2007). In his seven-year Major League career, Floyd is 70-70 with a 4.48 ERA in 199 games, 187 starts.
Floyd was originally a first round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2001 free agent draft. He was traded along with left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the Chicago White Sox on December 6, 2006 in exchange for right-hander Freddy Garcia. Floyd signed with the Braves on December 16, 2013.
Don’t Worry about the Atlanta Braves Pitching
After two starts, consider the Braves’ rotation OK.
Atlanta brought in Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang after the Medlen and Beachy injuries to help, but neither has pitched yet through two games of the 2014 season. Two guys that were around last season in Teheran and Wood have restored hope—at least as much as hope can be instilled in just two games—that all can be normal on the mound for the Braves this season.
Atlanta’s team ERA last season was 3.18, the best in the business. The Braves also finished second with 102 quality starts and sixth in opponent’s batting average (.244).
The Braves, through two games, have a team 2.00 ERA, are a perfect 2-for-2 as both Teheran and Wood have qualified for quality starts, and are holding opponents (just the Brewers thus far) to a .237 batting average.
Atlanta’s bullpen has been strong, just like the starters. Closer Craig Kimbrel struck out all three batters he faced and saved Wood’s gem on Tuesday. Gus Schlosser and Ian Thomas on Monday combined to pitch two scoreless innings and gave up just one hit.
The only blemish on Atlanta’s bullpen thus far has been David Carpenters’ earned run in the eighth inning Tuesday, as Aramis Ramirez singled to score Gomez. But that was just a blip, no real damage was done.
Atlanta Braves pitcher Ervin Santana could debut on April 9th
When the Atlanta Braves inked free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana to a 1-year contract back on March 12th, it was generally expected that he would not be able to join the rotation until mid-April at the earliest, but now, there is a report circulating that Santana could make his debut a little bit early.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Santana will throw a near-full game with triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, and if things go swimmingly in that outing, there is a real chance that the right-hander could pitch for the big league club on Wednesday, April 9th against the New York Mets. The Braves have been able to generate a 1-1 mark in the early going, but the back-end of the current rotation is ugly (David Hale and, to a lesser extent, Aaron Harang), and Santana would be a huge lift.
In 2013, the 31-year-old Santana had one of the best seasons of his career, posting a 3.24 ERA over 211 innings with the Kansas City Royals, and the Braves are banking on that level of production after giving him $14.1 million to rescue their injured rotation. It remains to be seen how effective he will be upon arrival, but that debut could be coming in short order.