Braves to call up Ben Sheets for Sunday’s start

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UPDATE: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Braves will call up Sheets to start Sunday against the Mets, in Atlanta.

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Ben Sheets made his second Double-A start yesterday, tossing 5.2 innings of three-run ball as the oft-injured former All-Star tries to make it back to the majors with the Braves.

Sheets was hurt by his defense late in the game, so his final line probably undersells his effectiveness. He struck out four, walked none, and allowed seven hits without giving up a homer.

Through two starts he has a 10/1 K/BB ratio and reports of his low-90s velocity have been encouraging, but Double-A batters are hitting .279 off him.

He threw 89 pitches yesterday, so Sheets is stretched out enough that the Braves could add him to their rotation at any time if they deem him ready and upon signing him to a minor-league deal they indicated that the 33-year-old wouldn’t be asked to remain in the minors for very long.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.