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This time, Minor shows he can pitch in the majors

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Roster Report · This time, Minor shows he can pitch in the majors

Left-hander Mike Minor's start Wednesday against the Pirates was more like he and the organization thought he could pitch, fortunately for both Minor the Braves.

Minor freely admits he was nervous in the last spot start he made, April 6 against the Brewers.

At that time, right after spring training, he had recently lost out on the fifth starting job to right-hander Brandon Beachy.

And the will-he-or-won't-he status of right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who ended up on the disabled list with a strained right oblique, meant that Minor hadn't been with the team, observing the veteran starters and absorbing the rhythm of the season as it got under way.

Minor gave up five earned runs in 4.1 innings in that April start, so one earned run Wednesday was quite an improvement. However, he pitched only 5 2/3 innings, meaning that manager Fredi Gonzalez had to use five relievers to cover the remainder of the 4-2, 11-inning victory.

That was OK, because the Braves were off Thursday and everyone gets to rest. Not to mention that the Braves also were off Monday, another arm-freshener. But that kind of schedule is not the norm.

Minor is expected to get one more start, on May 31. Beachy, on the disabled list because of a strained left oblique, is not expected to be ready to return before then.

But Minor isn't the only starting pitcher to keep an eye on. Right-hander Derek Lowe is back to last year's habit of averaging only six innings per start.

And while right-hander Tim Hudson's MRI exam showed nothing amiss with his lower back, the fact remains that he has been wrapping it heavily every day since the season began.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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