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Luiz Gohara bumped from Braves’ rotation battle with ankle injury


Left-handed pitching prospect Luiz Gohara may no longer be competing for a spot in the Braves’ Opening Day rotation, according to Mark Bowman of The southpaw was scheduled to pitch his first Grapefruit League start on Sunday, but will be forced to sit out after spraining his left ankle during pitchers’ drills on Friday afternoon. It’s still unclear how severely the injury will impact his upcoming season with the club, though David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution adds that the team is expected to reevaluate his progress in two weeks.

This is the second injury Gohara has suffered this spring after working his way back from a groin strain several weeks ago. The 21-year-old was poised to enter his sophomore season with the club following his major league debut last year, when he pitched to a 1-3 record in five starts with a 4.91 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 over 29 1/3 innings. He was ranked no. 4 in the Braves’ system by MLB Pipeline last month and currently grades as the team’s top left-handed prospect.

Without Gohara, Bowman notes, the competition for the final two spots in the Braves’ starting rotation has opened back up. Southpaw Sean Newcomb is the presumed favorite for the fourth slot, but the fifth could be claimed by any number of candidates, including veteran lefty Scott Kazmir, no. 7 prospect Max Fried, or right-handers Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair or Lucas Sims.

Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

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Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.