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03/29/11 8:53 PM ET

Kawakami to start season at Double-A

ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran, rated the Braves' top prospect by MLB.com, may start the season in Triple-A. Kenshin Kawakami, a former star in Japan, is headed to Double-A.

"He's going to Mississippi. He's already been told," Braves general manager Frank Wren said Tuesday when asked about Kawakami, who was 1-10 with Atlanta in 2010 before being sent to Triple-A Gwinnett. He is owed $6.67 million in the final season of a three-year deal despite no longer being on the team's 40-man roster.

Wren said the Braves are sending Kawakami to Double-A instead of Triple-A to save spots in the Gwinnett rotation for pitchers in the team's plans for this season and the future.

At the top of that list is Mike Minor, who is next in line to join the rotation, and Teheran, ranked No. 10 overall by MLB.com among prospects and ranked the second-best right-handed pitcher.

Teheran is just 20, and it had been projected that the native of Colombia would begin the season in Double-A before a possible move up to Triple-A near midseason. But Wren said that the timetable could be accelerated.

Although Wren said that "final, final decisions" on Minor League rosters hadn't been made, he indicated that "we know what our rosters pretty much look like" and mentioned Teheran when listing potential Triple-A starters.

"That's a projected possibility," said Wren when asked specifically about Teheran starting at Gwinnett.

Teheran was 9-8 with a 2.59 ERA overall last season and took part in a combined no-hitter after reaching Mississippi. He had 159 strikeouts in 142 2/3 innings.

Jurrjens plays catch, to pitch off mound soon

ATLANTA -- Jair Jurrjens played catch in the outfield before Tuesday night's exhibition game with Minnesota, but he hasn't pitched off a mound since leaving a start last Thursday after one inning because of discomfort near his right rib cage.

The Braves have moved Jurrjens' scheduled first start back to at least April 6 in Milwaukee and that may prove to be optimistic. If Jurrjens isn't ready, he could be put on the disabled list.

"He's progressing well. We're just not there yet," Wren said. "We're not pushing it, because we don't want to set him back."

Jurrjens is expected to get back on the mound and throw a side session soon.

"He played a little long catch today and that's about it," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Hopefully, we get him on the mound here in the next couple of days."

Braves outright Mather to Triple-A

ATLANTA -- Outfielder/infielder Joe Mather cleared waivers and was assigned outright by the Braves to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he will try to get going at the plate after struggling through Spring Training.

"We like him. We think he's a good fit for our ballclub," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "He's just got to get some extra work in offensively. ... He didn't have a good offensive spring, but he did all the other things we hoped he would do, which is play multiple positions and play them well."

Mather played all three outfield spots as well as third base and first base during Grapefruit League games. But he hit just .137 and struck out 14 times in 51 at-bats.

The 28-year-old showed promise at the plate with St. Louis in 2008, but he had surgery late that season on the hamate bone and hasn't hit as well since. He was claimed off waivers by the Braves from the Cardinals in November.

Braves fans can aid Japan relief efforts

ATLANTA -- Fans attending the two exhibition games against the Minnesota Twins and games against the Philadelphia Phillies from April 8-10 can join the Braves, the Japan-America Society of Georgia (JASG) and the American Red Cross in aiding earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan.

Kenshin Kawakami has donated $50,000 and the Braves' organization $5,000 to JASG, and members are collecting donations in Monument Grove at Turner Field. Any contributions made to the Atlanta Braves Foundation through Wednesday will be donated to the American Red Cross.

"It's nice to be able to team up with two great organizations and know that the money will go directly to the people who so desperately need it," Braves president John Schuerholz said.

Fans who can't make it to any of the games can still contribute by going to Braves.com/donate.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.