4/20/2014 12:53 A.M. ET
Minor poised to return; Floyd needs more time
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Mike Minor took the mound at Triple-A Gwinnett's Coolray Stadium on Saturday night knowing that the Braves are planning to activate him from the disabled list within the next week.
Minor surrendered a pair of first-inning runs and then held Charlotte scoreless over the remainder of his six-inning effort. If he rebounds from this 80-pitch outing without any problems, he could make his first start for Atlanta as early as Friday.
There was some thought that Gavin Floyd might also join Atlanta's starting rotation by the end of this month. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he now expects Floyd to make at least two more Minor League starts before completing his bid to return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
Floyd allowed four earned runs while throwing 84 pitches over 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Mississippi during Friday night's loss to Huntsville. He surrendered one run through the first four innings and then allowed four of the six batters he faced in the fifth inning to reach safely.
"He pitched well," Gonzalez said. "He left with the bases loaded and two outs because his pitch count was right where he wanted it to be. Then [the bullpen] ended up giving up all of his runs. His velocity was good and all of his breakdown of pitches for strikes were right where we wanted them to be. So, he was good."
While posting a 5.27 ERA in his first four Minor League rehab starts, Floyd has yet to complete as many as five innings. Given that he is preparing to enter a one-year contract, the 31-year-old right-hander wants to make sure he has completed all necessary preparations before returning to the Major League level.
If Floyd is not deemed ready until some point in May, the Braves will have more time to determine how to fit him in their starting rotation, which entered Saturday with a Major League-best 1.47 ERA. Minor is expected to replace David Hale.
But with Aaron Harang proving dominant in his first four starts of the season, the Braves do not apparent option to make room for Floyd in the rotation.
Freeman's heads-up play yields 'insurance out'
NEW YORK -- Aaron Harang did not have a chance to record the final out after he produced a gem in Friday night's win over the Mets. But his exit after seven innings with a no-hit bid in place might not have garnered so much attention had Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman not helped record what ended up being an "insurance fourth out" in the second inning.
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla ranged to his left to stop Travis d'Arnaud's two-out grounder and then made a quick throw that arrived at first base around the same time as the Mets catcher. Unsure whether the throw was in time for the third out, Freeman immediately fired the ball to third baseman Chris Johnson, who tagged an unsuspecting Lucas Duda, who slowed his approach toward third base once he realized d'Arnaud had been called out.
"I've never really gone for a fourth out before," Freeman said. "But I knew [the call at first base] was going to be close. That's why I wanted to throw the ball. I didn't want to leave it in the umpire's hands in that situation."
Mets manager Terry Collins rushed on the field and was seemingly prepared to request the umpires to review the play via Major League Baseball's instant-replay system. But because Duda had already been tagged for what stood as an insurance out, Collins had no reason to request a challenge that might have resulted in d'Arnaud being rewarded a single.
"We talked about it in Spring Training, you play the play out," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If you're a baserunner, run until the play is over because you can get assigned an extra base if they decide to advance the runners on a replay turnover. Freeman was heads up to get the runner. He felt it at first base that it was going to be bang-bang. So he comes off the bag firing and we get the out at third base. … It wouldn't have mattered if they had overturned it."
Fredi is first manager to visit Replay Command Center
NEW YORK -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez visited Major League Baseball Advanced Media's office on Saturday morning to see the Replay Command Center, where staffed umpires review the plays challenged by managers during the course of games.
"I just wanted to get a feel for when we challenge or when somebody else challenges to know what is going on," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez spoke to MLB's director of instant replay, Justin Klemm, who is responsible for managing the umpires at the Replay Command Center, handling supervisor staffing at the facility and, along with the technology director at MLBAM, helping to coordinate the procedural configuration with all 30 teams.
"We were talking back and forth about feeds and angles," Gonzalez said. "I think it's just going to keep getting better and better."
Klemm told Gonzalez that he was the first manager to visit the facility, which was constructed to meet the needs of the expanded instant replay system that MLB began using at the start of this season.
• Jordan Schafer was relieved to learn an X-ray taken after Saturday's 7-5 win over the Mets did not reveal any structural damage to his right middle finger. Schafer was unwilling to reveal how he injured the finger, but he did say he did not injure it after sliding into second base during the ninth inning. The backup outfielder hopes to be available to play on Sunday.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.