Evan Gattis was the big hero for the Braves last night, as he followed up a Dan Uggla single in the bottom of the 10th with a massive 2-run HR to left field to beat the Marlins in extra innings. The game went to extras due to an "adventurous" 9th inning for the Braves, which is when Craig Kimbrel gave up a run (instead of giving us one of those spotless appearances that we've become spoiled with) and when Jason Heyward picked another less-than-advantageous time to lay down a bunt. However, Gattis' bomb in the 10th made up for it all, and the Braves picked up another victory at home.
As Mike Minor continues to inch closer and closer to his return from surgery on his nether region, the Braves still don't have an exact return date set up for the lefty. Minor's return date should be during the weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds, but the Braves also have not completely ruled out giving Minor another rehab start to get extra ready. Here's Fredi's quote on the situation from Bowman's article on the subject:
"Nothing is written in stone," Gonzalez said. "[Minor] will throw his side and we'll ask him, 'how do you feel? Do you feel like you need another [rehab start]? It's a two-way conversation and we'll go from there."
One reason why the Braves appear to be so patient with Mike Minor is because of the fact that the Braves starting rotation has been absolutely excellent out of the gate, as the Braves current rotation has an ERA of 1.54 and a FIP of 3.14, which is good for 1st and 3rd, respectively. This has resulted in one of the earlier free agent signings, RHP Gavin Floyd, to be put on the backburner a little bit. Despite the fact that Floyd is actually ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, he's had a bit of a rough time in his rehab starts. However as I mentioned, the starting rotation has turned out to be a strength at this early juncture of the season, which means that Floyd has been afforded plenty of time (or at least until Harang's BABIP comes crashing to back down to Earth) to get things right in rehab starts before making his official debut as an Atlanta Brave.
During Spring Training, SB Nation MLB writer Cee Angi was looking to interview some players at Cleveland's Spring Training camp. The best she could get was then-Cleveland hopeful Aaron Harang, who was in the midst of an ultimately-futile position duel to get the final spot in Cleveland's rotation. In his interview with Angi, Harang tried to do justice to himself and his abilities by explaining what he brought to the table:
"The biggest thing I bring is just having experience ...and being able to watch guys and talk to them about situations I've been in if I see them in similar situations on the field. If they are out there and the game starts to speed up a little bit, maybe I can help them step back and slow the game down a little bit and stay under control and focus."
Considering the sterling start that he's had in his opportunity with the Braves, maybe it is great for young pitchers such as David Hale and Alex Wood to learn from Harang, even if Harang's own performance may not be sustainable, as awesome as it is.
Anthony Varvaro has come up big in multiple situations for the Braves so far this season, and he's done so by lighting up the radar gun as well. In addition to getting a 2.08 ERA (that is only behind Ian Thomas), Varvaro has been throwing fireballs in the process, as he hit 97 mph on the gun during the most recent Mets series. Of course, this is definitely pleasing news for the Braves' manager and the bullpen as a whole, which has been just a tad bit shaky as of late.
Chipper Jones is back in the news again, and this time it's for a very good cause as he announced on his twitter account that he would match all donations to the Jet Sports Management Team in an effort to raise money to help fight pediatric cancer. They've already raised $42,000~ and appear to be well on their way to their goal of $50,000.
League Wide News
After being scratched from his scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers later today, Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale was placed on the Disabled List with a strained flexor muscle in his left arm. Sale is currently 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA and 2.31 FIP, so he was obviously having a very good start to his season, and will definitely be missed by the White Sox while he's out.
You read that headline right. New Pirates first baseman Ike Davis hit his second grand slam of the season (and we're still in April!) and broke his bat in the process. That means he absolutely crushed that ball. On another note, surely the Reds are already growing tired of Ike Davis, as Ike's other grand slam this season also came against the Reds, back when he was a member of the New York Mets.
The Colorado Rockies already had a bit of an injury issue in their outfield as Carlos Gonzalez has dealt with knee issues. Now, another Rockies OF is dealing with injury woes and this time it's the reigning NL Batting Champion Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer will be headed to the DL with an injured right hamstring retroactive to Friday, which is when he tested out the hamstring and realized that it was a no-go.
After starting the season on the DL with a broken rib, the ageless wonder known as Jason Giambi was activated onto Cleveland's active 25-man roster, and will hope to contribute to the team as a DH. The 43-year old made his 2014 debut last night against the Kansas City Royals and went hitless in 4 at-bats.
In other "Wow, this guy is still playing?!" news, Bobby Abreu was called up to the New York Mets from AAA Las Vegas. Despite failing to make the Philadelphia Phillies out of Spring Training (which is amazing considering that the Phillies tend to love "experienced" players like Abreu), Abreu has done pretty well for the Las Vegas 51s; Well enough that a team that's desperate for offense decided to take a chance on a 40-year old who has not played Major League Baseball since 2012.