Braves shuffle pitching staff with Floyd's return

Macon TelegraphMay 4, 2014 


The Braves activated pitcher Gavin Floyd Sunday and sent reliever Ian Thomas to Triple-A Gwinnett.


Floyd will make his first start of the season Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’ll replace Ervin Santana for at least one start. Santana is dealing with a bruise near his thumb on his pitching hand.


The Braves believe Santana will simply be pushed back a few extra days and should be ready to go for next Saturday’s start against the Cubs.


It is ironic Santana’s injury happened right when the team had to place Floyd on the active roster. The Braves signed Floyd in December and expected him to take a spot in the rotation after he got more time rehabbing from last year’s Tommy John surgery. The success of the starting pitchers so far this season made the decision difficult until Santana’s bruise popped up.


If Santana is ready to go after a few extra days rest, it’s expected Floyd will be a long reliever until he gets another chance to make a start. How will that happen? Well, that’s obviously to be decided unless Floyd pitches so well Tuesday they have to force someone to the bullpen.


Thomas pitched in 10 games out of the Atlanta pen and posted a 4.26 earned run average. He will be placed in the Gwinnett rotation to work on his secondary pitches.


Thomas’ demotion leaves Atlanta with only one left-hander in the bullpen, and that pitcher has had a dreadful start. Luis Avilan has a 7.04 ERA in his first 13 games. He’s allowed 13 hits and walked six in his 7.2 innings of work.


The Braves seem confident Avilan will get things going. Avilan had his worst ERA last season in April, as he walked five and gave up three runs on nine hits in nine innings pitched.


Jonny Venters is still a candidate to rejoin the bullpen sometime in midseason. Venters is also coming back from Tommy John surgery.


* The Braves are undoubtedly watching an interesting situation in High-A Lynchburg as second baseman Jose Peraza is tearing up the Carolina League in the first month.


Peraza, who just turned 20 on Wednesday, is hitting .348 (fourth in the league) with five doubles, nine RBI and 14 stolen bases.


After a great season last year as a 19-year-old in the Sally League, the Braves considered letting Peraza skip Lynchburg and jump to Double-A Mississippi. But they sent him to Lynchburg to at least start the season and is now giving them reasons to wonder how long he needs to stay there.


Peraza has 16 hits in his last 35 at bats (.457) in his current eight-game hitting streak.


Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and e-mail him at








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