Kevin Gausman went on the IL today with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. With his a spot open on the roster, the Braves recalled A.J. Minter. If Minter can pitch well in his time with the Braves, would that be enough to keep him on the roster for the rest of the season?
Minter was pretty bad before getting sent down to AAA to work out some issues. In 15 appearances, Minter’s ERA was at 9.82. In 11 innings, Minter had given up 17 hits, 12 earned runs, and had 9 walks compared to 16 strikeouts. It was an ugly start to a season and Minter needed to get out of the spotlight to get his head together. That’s just what Minter did.
In Gwinnett, Minter started to look like the pitcher the Braves were expecting at the start of the season. In 9 games, Minter pitched 10.2 innings while posting 2.53 ERA. His strikeouts stayed around the same, 15, but his walks decreased noticeably, only 2. Minter always had the stuff to be a major league pitcher, but he just needed the AAA stint to rediscover that.
If Minter can be the same pitcher he was in Gwinnett, there will be a place for him in this Braves bullpen. With Gausman moving out of the rotation, and Dallas Keuchel not being ready, Sean Newcomb will move out of the bullpen to make the next scheduled start for Gausman. If Keuchel needs more than one more start to get to to the Braves, Minter could find a lot of work in the bullpen. Newcomb has been more of the long guy or seventh inning guy, and Minter isn’t that, but what he can provide will still be essential to the Braves success moving forward. Don’t expect Minter to displace Luke Jackson anytime soon, but Minter could slide back into his more accustomed 8th inning role, a role he served well last season.
The Braves are in the midst of a three-game set with the Pirates. The Braves won the first game last night and will have Mike Foltynewicz going tonight in the second game of the series. There is a good chance we may get to see Minter make his first appearance tonight since returning to the Braves.