The Braves will have little competition in the starting rotation this spring, as the five spots are pretty much set for the 2010 season.
However, the scare the Braves received with Jair Jurrjens could make his starts worth watching in March. The MRI on his shoulder showed no structural damage, but Jurrjens will be a bit behind the other four starters as the Grapefruit League season begins.
Tim Hudson will likely regain his spot as the ace of the rotation. Jurrjens will likely fall into the second spot, as long as he shows he’s healthy.
Expect manager Bobby Cox to go with Derek Lowe as the third starter. Even though Lowe had a challenging first season in Atlanta in 2009, he’s a veteran and Cox will probably give him the nod over youngster Tommy Hanson, who will be the fourth starter.
And Kenshin Kawakami could easily be described as the best fifth starter in baseball.
If there is any competition in spring training, it will undoubtedly be to get people lined up in case there is a need for a starting pitcher at the big league level.
Four members of the projected Gwinnett rotation are on the Atlanta 40-man roster, including Jo Jo Reyes, who has made 37 starts at the big league level.
James Parr has had two cups of coffee in Atlanta the past two seasons. Todd Redmond and Jonny Venters will round out the Triple-A rotation.
Left-hander Jose Ortegano pitched well in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues and was placed on the 40-man roster. He’ll have a chance to make an impression in spring training before heading to Double-A Mississippi.
Kyle Cofield is also on the 40-man, and he’ll return to the Mississippi rotation after starting 24 games there last season.
These six will be in big league camp, and also expect Scott Diamond and Ryne Reynoso, who will either be in Gwinnett or Mississippi, to be brought over from the minor league fields to appear in big league spring training games.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.