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.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.