07/05/12 7:28 PM ET
Gonzalez encouraged by Sheets' Double-A start
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
"He touched 93 mph, good breaking ball," Gonzalez said. "Threw well. He's going on to his next start."
Sheets, a four-time All-Star, had not pitched since July 19, 2010, when he was a member of the A's. He has since undergone Tommy John surgery and was out of baseball before signing a Minor League contract with the Braves on Sunday.
Gonzalez said Mississippi pitching coach Mike Alvarez said Sheets was "amped up" before his start.
"You can just imagine," Gonzalez said. "The guy hasn't pitched professionally in two years. That's a good sign."
Sheets will make his next start at Double-A on Monday. General manager Frank Wren said the team will re-evaluate Sheets' progress at that point, but it is possible he will be ready to join the Braves when they return from the All-Star break.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said starter Randall Delgado will be available to pitch out of the bullpen against the Phillies on Friday night, if necessary. Mike Minor will be available in the same role on Saturday. Neither Delgado nor Minor is scheduled to start in Philadelphia.
Thursday was the Braves' final home game before the All-Star break. They are 19-22 at Turner Field this season. Among teams above .500, the Braves are the only one with a losing record at home.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.