Battle for fifth-starter job is underway

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Braves’ fifth-starter competition is officially underway, and Brandon Beachy probably wishes he could take a mulligan.

All three candidates pitched two innings apiece Sunday against the Mets, with Rodrigo Lopez and Mike Minor giving up no runs, while Beachy allowed two runs and three hits.

“Lopez did a nice job; Minor did the same thing,” Gonzalez said. “Beachy got into a little jam, but he got himself out to minimize the damage.”

Lopez pitched the first two innings and threw three consecutive balls to leadoff hitter Willie Harris. He walked Harris on six pitches, then made an adjustment to a mound that Lopez said had a deeper slope than the bullpen mound.

The veteran right-hander got six outs in the next six batters, including a double-play grounder by Josh Thole in the second inning. Lopez allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout.

“I threw one breaking ball, but [otherwise] just mixed fastball and few changeups,” Lopez said. “I feel pretty good. I have a good feeling about it, and I’m just going to continue to work.”

Gonzalez told reporters two weeks ago that he goes in with no preconceived notions and that the race is wide open between Lopez and the two promising rookies.

“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been told,” Lopez said. “I’m just trying to work on my thing and regardless of what happens, try to have a good season.”

Minor had no walks or strikeouts while retiring all six batters faced. For this point of the spring, he was pleased.

“I’m just  trying to throw strikes right now, hit the mitt,” he said.  “If anything, put it more over the plate than inside or outside. That’s what happened today, I just threw mostly fastballs. I threw two changeups, and the rest were fastballs.”

The left-hander said he still needs to work on his stamina, but his arm strength was good.

“This is a good starting point,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that in the first outing. Get six outs, get some confidence.  Nobody hit it too hard off me, so that’s good.”

Beachy pitched a perfect fifth before allowing three hits in the sixth including Daniel Murphy’s two-run double.

42 comments Add your comment


February 27th, 2011
6:31 pm

Hope Minor wins the job. A lefty would be nice…

Chris from the Rock

February 27th, 2011
6:35 pm

Rodrigo Lopez<Albie Lopez.


February 27th, 2011
6:35 pm

Kinda weird that nobody is saying “those runs Beachy gave up… they were just out of reach of the defense.”


February 27th, 2011
6:48 pm


February 27th, 2011
7:27 pm



February 27th, 2011
7:49 pm

I just assumed that the job was Minor’s but his comments last year in the stretch run saying that he was tired has haunted him ever since. It was something that should not have been said but I think he is the best pitcher for that spot.


February 27th, 2011
7:54 pm

Beachy made a mistake with an 0-2 fastball to Murphy, but on the + side had 3 Ks in his two innings. An according to the Mets radio announcers had a very good breaking ball.

Robin Of The Hood

February 27th, 2011
8:23 pm

After what Mike did last year aginst the Cubs he looked like the Young Gun we projected when we drafted him earlier than experts thought…I respect that he said he was tired last year. If he had kept pushing and then went out and got shelled every time out people would then start to question his ability. Atleast he’s honest, if you are in a Playoff run and you give way to someone who is going to give your TEAM the better chance to win that day then you are becoming a smart player and thats what the VANDY kid is

Headley Lamar

February 27th, 2011
8:24 pm

Kinda weird that nobody is saying “those runs Beachy gave up… they were just out of reach of the defense.”

Yeah. I mean what you really want your manager to say there is something like ” Beachy really sucked today. He was terrible.” and really throw him under the bus.

That would work wouldnt it?


February 27th, 2011
9:33 pm

oooh…i wish you were still here mm’s..bone to pick with you


February 27th, 2011
9:36 pm

like Freddie…but you a nobody call out a Hall a Famer..yeah..You should of been a Braves fan back in ‘74


February 27th, 2011
9:40 pm

no dumb A…go through a 17 game losing streak and as a fan go right back to the radio I have seen blogs from before..Is it? once and idiot always one


February 27th, 2011
9:41 pm

Can’t wait to get down to Spring Training and see this rotation first hand. Minor is one of my new favorites, hope he signs at the Autograph Reception while I am down in Orlando.

Nate D

February 27th, 2011
9:43 pm


February 27th, 2011
10:06 pm

I really hope that our new manager means what he said when he has “no preconceived notions and that the race is wide open between Lopez and the two promising rookies.” I hope that’s true for the bench positions as well. I really hope Ed Lucas, Matt Young, Jordan Schafer, and Stephen Marek make the team this year


February 27th, 2011
10:15 pm

sorry sports fans..have to vent or blog…somewhat nice article by chickehshultzie…ban me..and then using the same word in his article that he has sighted me for before..and incripted variations the scarlet “A” banned…turned a positive interview into a housewives of ajc blog..focused on one comment.created a blog…you go jeffieless..Chipper, I would not talk to the saaabb…you no incripted..anymore


February 27th, 2011
10:28 pm

a sports reporter who takes one part of a conversation,,,and the writes in a supportive manner..taking up for the the article but the makes it his bloogging teaser…you sir jeffless are quote the “Great Santinni” Pat Conroy..sorry sports fans..boy I wish Tampex Gator would come talk to can go all the way back to Rowland Office not compare CJ to BH..dumb aaa


February 27th, 2011
10:46 pm

Agree with Beegee on the bench players. Hope the young kids win out..they seem hungry and want it more. Really like Lucas and Young. Schafer needs a couple months at AAA since he has missed so much time hurt. So far the new players have looked very good.


February 28th, 2011
12:56 am

The Bravos staff is definitely gonna get DOUBLE PITS TO CHESTY with it this year!

P. Bull Terrier

February 28th, 2011
1:28 am

I completely agree with “kral”.

if then we is was…with a bad one of them…always saying stuff…no can like jeff when it was like it is because then you will…sniff the flower..the cowards never when we win if you write on blog too times…told you so

Him Tudson

February 28th, 2011
4:18 am

If Bobby were still around, Lopez’s chances of becoming the fifth starter would be higher. But with Gonzalez the manager, I’d say it’s between Minor and Beachy, barring some unexpected magic.


February 28th, 2011
7:43 am

If Lopez proves up to the task it only makes for a deeper rotation.


February 28th, 2011
8:28 am

5 runs a game is just too much. Even if he threw 200 innings, that is a lot in a lot of innings. I don’t want Lopez. I want Lowe traded to the Yanks and Minor 4th and Beachy 5th in the rotation. Spend Lowe’s and KK’s salary on an impact centerfielder.


February 28th, 2011
8:46 am

Kral ive been a brave fan since 1957 i remeber 74 no maddux glavine smoltz,avery, millwood, neagle, bobby had the best pitching staff in baseball but still mange to make poor decisons in the season and more glaring in the playoffs including last year. Name any other manger in baseball that would not have won with the best staff in baseball all those years, and only had one world series. Booby won because of the braves dominant pitching all those years, not because he was a great strategist.

The Living Legend

February 28th, 2011
9:06 am

I see Minor actually starting the year at AAA, he got tired last year, and has not thrown more than 175 innings in a season, I see Lopez being the 5th starter until about May……………….just saying.

And all the young players will not make the bench. Hinske, D. Ross will take two spots, so you have room for 3 more at the most and I think Diory will be one so that leaves two spots.


February 28th, 2011
9:37 am


No offense, but if Lopez wins the 5th starter job that will be a bad sign. I fully expect him to pitch well in spring training when opposing batters aren’t geared into his finesse pitches. It will be a whole different story one month after the regular season begins.

The Living Legend

February 28th, 2011
9:49 am


Typically 5th starters skip a turn or two the first few weeks of the season, so Lopez will only pitch like every 10th game sometimes, if Fredi does skip turns in the rotation. That is why I say Lopez starts the year as the 5th and Minor stays in AAA to get his regular turn.

The Dude Abides

February 28th, 2011
10:59 am

Okay our managers name is Fredi and our first basemans name is Freddie. Not that hard people!

Walker, Texas Ranger

February 28th, 2011
11:30 am

P Bull, you took the words right out of my mouth. That is rib splitting funny stuff. Oh yeah, vote for Minor just cause we need a lefty

February 28th, 2011
11:47 am

Minor has the edge because he is a lefty. I think its his job to lose at this point?


February 28th, 2011
12:20 pm

I bet its the one that does the best in Spring Training….Fredi wants to win, not play politices

Fab-Five Fredi

February 28th, 2011
12:57 pm

Question for the masses. Is it just me or does Jim Powell remind you of someone in serious need of a Prozac. HE sounds soooo monotone. Sony should use his voice as an option on the new Dream Machine as he surely is capable of inducing drowsiness in record time. I guess I was spoiled all these years having the pleasure of listening to Pete, Don, Joe, Ernie, Sr and the late great Skip. They could paint a wonderful picture, show enthusiasm and maintain your interest. I know that Don and Joe are still around, it just seems that when Skip passed, the lights in the booth got a little dimmer…

Carroll Rogers

February 28th, 2011
12:58 pm

new blog is up…

The Grinch

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

I’m pretty sure Minor will get the spot, unless something odd happens. And I agree it was nice to hear the manager say something positive about a player who struggled without appearing to have not been watching the game. There is a middle ground between throwing a player under the bus and saying things so off the wall it makes even the player in question stare in disbelief. I am REALLY looking forward to this season. I think we can take the East.


February 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

We need John Rocker. He can stir things up alittle.

Fab-Five Fredi

February 28th, 2011
1:18 pm

The Braves could use a “Wild Thing” Charlie Sheen of the broadcast booth. Someone to stir the masses and ruffle some feathers. A “Big Time” Homer would be nice ala Harry Caray.


February 28th, 2011
1:44 pm

At other sites they ridicule the posters on this site because of the sheer amount of idiocy displayed by the trolls here. I still come here, though, because there are those who actually have some knowledge. I just skip over the idiot comments, they are either children or morons.


February 28th, 2011
4:11 pm

Living Legend:

I am okay with that; I just cannot get excited about Lopez be a long term player in the rotation.


February 28th, 2011
5:22 pm

Jut hoping it’s not Lopez. He has no upside and no future on this team so why waste valuable playing time on him? Unless we think he will be a run or less per game better than the other two he has no business being on this roster.


February 28th, 2011
5:56 pm

Don Shula made the NFL Hall of Fame on the arms of Hall of Fanme QBs named Unitas, Greise & Marino.

Bobby Cox will waltz into Cooperstown on the arms of Maddux, Smoltz & Glavine.

Considering the talent the Braves had 1991-1996, they should have won at least 2-3 more World Championships.

They tailed off after giving away Justice, Dye & Grissom in spring training 1997, with the starting pitching getting them into the post-season. It certainly wasn’t the offense.


February 28th, 2011
6:50 pm

Last year Mike Minor’s fast ball didn’t move. Hitters love a good fast straight fast ball. Mike Minor has to develop another pitch or learn how to make his fast move.


March 1st, 2011
9:35 am

RE: robert

Actually, there are two parts to address your statement. For the first few games, Minor’s FB actually moved a lot. He was the master of placement and was pitching well. Then something happened….he said he became tired….I hope that is all it was…nothing more.

Anyway, he has lots of potential – that’s what the scouts and other advisors are saying.


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