Ervin Santana set to debut for Atlanta Braves on Thursday


Mar 14, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Ervin Santana (30) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It has been only eight days since the Atlanta Braves snapped up free agent pitcher Ervin Santana, but in that short amount of time, the right-hander has been able to get himself in pitching shape. As a result, Santana will take the mound on Thursday in his Spring Training debut, as the Braves take on the New York Mets.

It is incredibly encouraging to see Santana already on the mound in game action, if only because it moves up his timetable to make a regular season debut. No one expects the 31-year-old Santana to be able to appear in the rotation during the season’s first week, but with Mike Minor potentially on the shelf into late April, the Braves are quite short-handed in the rotation. Obviously, the loss of Kris Medlen was the impetus for the Santana signing in the first place, but with both he and Brandon Beachy unavailable for at least the near future, the focus will turn to the latest acquisition.

Santana was fantastic in Kansas City last season, posting a 3.24 ERA and 3.0 fWAR over 211 innings with the Royals, but with a $14.1 million base salary, expectations are extremely high for his debut in Atlanta. Stay tuned for all the latest as Ervin Santana (and the rest of Atlanta’s rotation) prepare to start the season in less than 2 weeks.