Recent free agent signee Ben Sheets will start on the mound for the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. Manager Fredi Gonzalez made the call after seeing Sheets throw a bullpen session Thursday, reports mlb.com.
It will be Sheets' first Major League start since July 19, 2010, when he played for the Oakland A's. Sheets, a four-time All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, has missed two of the last three seasons, most recently due to Tommy John surgery.
Though he has given up six earned runs in 10 2/3 innings over two starts with Double-A Mississippi, Sheets struck out 10 batters and only walked one. He also said his arm felt good during the starts.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well, to tell you the truth," Sheets said. "Mistakes got hit, like they will up here. Even when you're in midseason form, you make mistakes — it's going to happen. You try to minimize them and make pitches around them."
With Sheets starting Sunday, Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson will start the first two games of the Braves' weekend series with the New York Mets. With an off-day Monday, Jair Jurrjens will start the series opener with the San Francisco Giants. That means Wednesday will see either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado start with the other one being optioned to the minor leagues.
"We'll see how this weekend shapes up before we make that decision on who's going to go on Wednesday," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also said that Sheets will be on a pitch count, fewer than 100. Sheets threw 89 pitches in his last start on July 9.
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