DENVER — Kenshin Kawakami will be back in the Braves’ bullpen when he returns from Triple-A Gwinnett in September, manager Bobby Cox said Tuesday.
Rookie Mike Minor has been impressive in three starts (2-0, 4.00 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 18 innings) and could remain in the rotation for the rest of the season.
When Kawakami was sent down last month, the Braves said the Japanese veteran would make four starts and perhaps return to the majors at that point, but a rotation spot wasn’t assured.
He lost his rotation spot to Kris Medlen this summer, and Kawakami made just one relief appearance in more than a month before he was sent to Gwinnett to become reconditioned for starting.
He is 0-1 with a 4.11 ERA in four starts for Gwinnett, and not likely to rejoin the Braves until Sept. 1 when rosters are expanded.
“He’ll pitch out of the ‘pen,” Cox said. “We still need him, in case someone’s sick or whatever. Now he’s used to starting [again].”