PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The Braves are still trying to trade Kenshin Kawakami, who’ll have his highest-profile appearance of the spring when he starts Sunday against Philadelphia in a 1:05 p.m. game to be shown nationally on the MLB Network.
Kawakami had originally been scheduled to start Monday night in the Braves’ last spring-traniing game in Florida before they return to Atlanta for two exhibition games against Minnesota Tuesday and Wednesday.
He was switched to Sunday to replace Mike Minor, who was optioned to Triple-A on Thursday when Brandon Beachy was declared the winner of the No. 5 starter competition. In Monday’s game, the Braves will start a minor leaguer to be determined.
Kawakami, 35, was two weeks late to spring training because of visa issues in Japan. He has a 2.25 ERA in eight innings over four spring games (one start), charged with seven hits, four runs (two earned) and two walks with four strikeouts.
His late arrival to camp has made it even tougher for the Braves to try to find a suitor willing to trade for the veteran right-hander and pick up any significant portion of the $6.7 million he is owed in the final season of his three-year contract.
Kawakami was 1-10 with a 5.15 ERA in 2010, after going 7-12 with a 3.86 ERA in his first season in the majors in 2009. The Braves dropped him from the 40-man roster after last season and outrighted him to Double-A Mississippi.