The Braves have managed to hold things together quite nicely in the early going despite a patchwork rotation, but they will get a major piece back soon.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mike Minor is tentatively scheduled to join the Braves’ rotation next Wednesday against the Marlins or next Friday against the Reds. The southpaw was forced to begin the season on the disabled due after he fell behind in his offseason throwing program following a urinary tract procedure and showed up to camp with shoulder soreness, but he has made it through his three minor league rehab appearances (two starts) without incident. He’s scheduled to make what could be his final rehab start Friday with Double-A Mississippi.
The Braves currently have a rotation of Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, Aaron Harang, and David Hale. No word on who will get the boot when Minor is ready, but Hale is the most logical option. The Braves could have another decision to make soon if all goes well in Gavin Floyd’s rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA and 181/46 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings across 32 starts last season.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”