Ben Sheets to start Braves’ season finale and then retire


Tim Hudson was scheduled to start Atlanta’s season finale, but with the Wild Card spot locked up the Braves will rest him for the playoffs and instead turn to Ben Sheets for Game 162 against the Pirates.

Sheets hasn’t pitched since August 24 because of a shoulder injury and told reporters that he’ll retire after tomorrow’s start.

Sheets made a helluva comeback after not pitching in the majors at all last season, starting eight games with a 3.54 ERA for the Braves when they really needed the rotation help, but the 33-year-old right-hander is apparently tired of dealing with the injuries that have repeatedly sidetracked his career.

He’s expected to pitch two innings tomorrow versus Pittsburgh in what will be his 250th career start. Sheets is a four-time All-Star and his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.59 is the fourth-best among all active pitchers with at least 1,500 innings behind only Dan Haren, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee.

Mets pitcher Jason Vargas to have surgery on his non-throwing hand

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Yesterday the Mets announced that lefty Jason Vargas sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand as the result of a comebacker during a spring training start. This morning they announced that Vargas will have surgery, which should cause him to miss the first week or so of the season.

Vargas will have the surgery tomorrow. Given that it’s on his non-throwing hand, he won’t miss much time — just a week or so of action, with another few days to get back up to speed afterward. He actually threw a bullpen session this morning. The issue is that he can’t catch a ball right now.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the Mets last month. With him missing a couple of starts, the Mets should break camp with both Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in the rotation. The two had been fighting for the final spot.