Aaron Harang (left) is set to join the four-man rotation the Braves will open the season with, replacing Freddy Garcia.
With Freddy Garcia granted his unconditional release, the Braves have signed another veteran right-hander in Aaron Harang.
Atlanta agreed to terms Monday on a one-year deal with Harang, 35, who was granted his release by the Indians earlier in the day after learning that he would not make the Opening Day roster.
Letting Garcia go was initially a surprise given that, with a rash of injuries — Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy are out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgeries, Mike Minor is recovering from left shoulder tendinitis and is expected back in mid-April and newly signed Ervin Santana not likely back until April 9 at the earliest — he was on track to join Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and David Hale in the initial starting staff.
Harang, who has been with the A’s, Reds, Mets, Dodgers, Padres and Mariners in his 12-year career, is coming off a year in which he had a 5.40 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 40 walks over 26 starts with Seattle and New York. But he looked strong in spring, although it was a small sample size. In nine Cactus League innings he had allowed two runs on eight hits.
Harang is expected to step in immediately and fill Garica’s spot in a four-man rotation until Minor and Santana return. He will wear No. 34, which Garcia had been wearing this spring.
Garcia, 37, proved a major surprise for the Braves last season, as he went 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings after being acquired in August. He also started Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers, allowing two earned runs in six innings.
He had an erratic spring with a 4.76 ERA, 14 strikeouts and six walks in 17 innings, but was coming off his most impressive outing, holding the Mets to two hits and zero earned runs with four Ks in 5 1/3 innings.
As Garcia told FOXSportsSouth.com on the day of the first full-squad workout, he would not accept a minor-league assignment, saying "I either make the team or I go home."
Also Monday, the Braves optioned left-handed pitcher Ryan Buchter and outfielders Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich to Gwinnett, while infielders Tyler Greene and Tommy La Stella were re-assigned to Triple-A.