Mike Minor to throw batting practice Monday for the first time this spring

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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.

Cardinals tab Miles Mikolas for Opening Day start

Miles Mikolas
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The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.

The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.

Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.