Minor missing as Braves announce rotation for first five spring games

Freddy Garcia, who went 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings after joining the Braves last season, will start the spring opener.

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The Braves rotation is set for the first five spring training games, manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Monday — minus one of the staff’s best young arms.

Veteran Freddy Garcia will get the ball Wednesday against the Tigers, followed by Kris Medlen on Thursday vs. Detroit, Brandon Beachy against the Astros on Friday and Julio Teheran on Saturday vs. the Nationals and Alex Wood and David Hale on Sunday in split-squad games against the Tigers (Wood) and Astros (Hale).

Missing from that group is Mike Minor, who had a sore shoulder at the start of camp and has been throwing from 120 feet. He was already off schedule after undergoing a procedure on his urethra on Dec. 31 and was unable to throw in January.

Gonzalez said Monday he expects Minor to be available, at the latest, by the 10th game of the season, when the Braves would need to have a fifth starter available.

In his absence, Atlanta will go with the 37-year-old Garcia — who started the fourth and final game of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers.

But it could be a valuable look at Garcia, who says he won’t accept a minor league assignment if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster.

In camp on a minor league contract, he is fighting for a spot in the rotation and could be an option — at least until offseason acquisition Gavin Floyd’s expected May return from Tommy John surgery — if the Braves are looking to monitor 22-year-old Wood’s innings early on by keeping him in the bullpen to open the season.