Adding yet another weapon to their rotation's arsenal, the Atlanta Braves officially activated right-hander Gavin Floyd from the disabled list on Sunday. The team has announced that he’ll take the mound on Tuesday, starting in place of Ervin Santana. Reliever Ian Thomas has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room on the active roster.
Floyd has been slowly working his way back from Tommy John surgery after undergoing the procedure last May, marking an unceremonious end to his tenure with the Chicago White Sox. He’d gone 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over five starts before the severity of his injury was discovered. Chicago allowed him to reach free agency following the season and the Braves signed him in December to a modest one year deal worth $4 million, with another potential $4.5 million in performance incentives. He figured at the time to serve as rotation depth, should the Braves end up needing it.
Spending time at both Double-A and Triple-A during his rehab assignment, Floyd pitched relatively well. He made six starts, totaling 24 1/3 IP, in which he posted a 4.12 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. While the results weren’t overly impressive, Floyd showed he was healthy, which was the Braves' primary concern. Atlanta had to activate Floyd on Sunday rather than wait for Tuesday’s start due to MLB’s rules surrounding rehab assignments. It had been 30 days since he’d been sent on assignment, forcing the team to make a move.
After Tuesday’s start, it remains to be seen how the Braves will utilize him. The team’s starting pitchers have combined for a 2.47 ERA on the year entering Sunday, which is by far the best in the major leagues. Santana is only expected to miss the one start after jamming his thumb during an outing against Cincinnati. He pitched his following turn in the rotation last Thursday but had to leave the game in the sixth as his thumb began to swell, affecting his ability to grip the ball. Skipping Santana's turn is merely a move by manager Fredi Gonzalez to give him some extra rest. Floyd will presumably move into the Braves’ bullpen once Santana returns to the rotation at week’s end. Thomas had been relieving for the Braves but had seen limited action in the first month of the season. The left-hander had made 10 appearances but had thrown just 6 1/3 IP on the year, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that he’ll shift back into a starting role at Triple-A while working on his secondary pitches.