Braves starter Mike Minor is expected to be shut down for two weeks after an MRI revealed no structural damage in his left shoulder.
After seeing orthopedic surgeron Dr. James Andrews, Minor, who dealt with shoulder issues throughout the 2014 season, received an injection to address the shoulder’s inflammation and a new workout regimen focused on stretching and cutting out heavy weight-lifting. He is expected to open the season on the disabled list for the second straight season.
"There’s still, they say, there’s not really anything wrong structurally, which is good," Minor said. "But it’s more of, ‘Let’s just see if this works and kinda ramp you back up.’ Hopefully the stretching and shoulder exercises we’re really going to knock those out twice a day for the next two weeks. Hopefully that will work out.
"(Andrews) said a lot of it’s coming from the (rotator) cuff and it might be just weak. There’s no tears or fraying, none of that. They just said that maybe it’s just weak and it’s causing it to pinch a bit."
Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said that while the MRIs were "as clean as you want to see," there is no timetable on Minor’s return.
Still, with the season opener less than a month away, Minor could find himself on a timeline similar to last season’s, when he made his first start on May 2.
It’s been a busy offseason as Minor enters his fifth season in Atlanta’s rotation. He won his arbitration hearing in February and will earn $5.6 million this season. It was the first time the franchise had taken a player to an arbitration hearing since 2001.
Limited by his shoulder issues, Minor’s 2014 season was the worst of his career. He posted a 6-12 record with a 4.77 ERA in 145 1/3 innings pitched. His peripherals were slightly better (4.39 fielding-independent pitching), but he was, save for a late-season stretch, a replacement-level pitcher, far below his career averages. The 27-year-old drew rave reviews early in spring training after showing up for Grapefruit League in midseason form, but this latest news is both challenging and encouraging for Minor.
"I have a direction to go. After this, if it does come back or whatever, we’ll have to reevaluate it. But I don’t see — there’s nothing wrong with the MRIs and stuff. There’s no surgical procedures or anything."