Saturday, 19 April 2014

Atlanta Braves' Finding a fit for Gavin Floyd

The Atlanta Braves' rotation appeared to be in shambles a few short weeks ago when the club learned Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy would be lost for the season.

Enter journeyman Aaron Harang, who pitched seven no-hit innings against the Mets on Friday night to lower is earned run average to a miniscule 0.70 in four starts. Once desperate for healthy arms, the Braves may soon have to decide which effective starter gets bumped once Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd are ready to return.

Minor, who began the year on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, was scheduled to start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday night, but the game was postponed by rain. There is a chance he could join Atlanta's rotation next week, reports’s Mark Bowman.

Floyd, who is attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Double-A Mississippi on Friday against Huntsville. Given Floyd has yet to complete five innings, he could be a few weeks away.

Following the last-in, first-out philosophy, the leading candidate to be bumped is David Hale, who has a 1.43 WHIP in four major league starts. Hale also could be kept as a reliever.

Finding a fit for Floyd, however, will be more difficult given Harang’s dazzling start. But some regression to the mean seems inevitable given Harang did have a 5.40 ERA last season. Remember, Paul Maholm got off to a similar start for the Braves last season (0.00 ERA in first three starts) before the bottom fell out.

At the very least, Harang’s performance takes away any temptation to rush Floyd back.

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