KANSAS CITY – After nearly two years away from baseball followed by two Double-A starts, Ben Sheets could make his return to the big leagues for the Braves on Sunday.
Having impressed team officials in two starts for Double-A Mississippi, the 34-year-old former Milwaukee ace will throw a side session at Turner Field on Thursday before the Braves decide whether to start him Sunday against the Mets, or have him make another minor league start.
He is expected to replace one of the Braves’ inconsistent young starters, Mike Minor or Randall Delgado. The Braves have also scouted several pitchers as trade possibilities, including Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
Sheets, a four-time former All-Star, signed a minor league deal with the Braves after drawing interest from a handful of teams including the Yankees, who also made him an offer. He has a 5.06 ERA in two starts for Mississippi, allowing 12 hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in 10-2/3 innings, and his fastball velocity has topped out at 93 mph.
He worked 5-2/3 innings Monday against Birmingham and allowed one unearned run until the sixth, when he was charged with two earned runs after a botched back end of a would-be double play. The second earned run scored after he left the game.