Mike Minor fell behind in his offseason training program after a painful-sounding surgery for a urinary tract infection in late December and showed up to camp with some shoulder soreness, but he’s beginning to make some progress.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Minor is scheduled to throw live batting practice Monday for the first time this spring. He was cleared to face hitters after making it through four recent bullpen sessions with no issues.
It’s unclear how batting practice sessions Minor will have to complete before he gets into a game, but the Braves aren’t going to take any chances following the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. The best-case scenario is that he’ll join the rotation when the team needs a fifth starter for the first time on April 12 against the Nationals. The recently-signed Ervin Santana could also be ready around that time.
Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA and 181/46 K/BB ratio over 204 2/3 innings last season.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.
Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.
Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.