Rookie Minor continues to disprove critics

Rookie Minor continues to disprove critics

ATLANTA -- When critics questioned the Braves' decision to take Mike Minor with the seventh overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, they were unaware of the fact that they were simply giving the left-handed pitcher yet another opportunity to prove his doubters wrong.

While making it to the Majors a little more than a year after completing his successful career at Vanderbilt University, Minor kept a memory of what had happened to him during his freshman year at Forrest School in Chapel Hill, Tenn. Recognizing the young kid's athletic ability, a high school teacher attempted to persuade him to play football.

"He told me that I should play as many sports as possible while I still had the chance," said Minor, who was committed to playing baseball and basketball. When I told him that I planned to continue playing baseball beyond high school, he just laughed at me."

When Minor makes his second career start for the Braves in Tuesday night's series opener against the Nationals, he'll once again have a chance to laugh at those who doubted his ability and motivated him during his rapid rise to the Majors. This will be the 22-year-old southpaw's first home start.

During his debut in Houston last week, Minor worked six innings and allowed four runs (three earned). Three of the runs were scored during the fourth inning, which he concluded with two consecutive strikeouts.

"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I might be," Minor said. "The hardest part was before the game. It felt like it took forever for the game to start. I probably shouldn't have gotten to the park so early."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.