Sheets makes first start for Braves in Double-A

Sheets makes first start for Braves in Double-A

Sheets makes first start for Braves in Double-A
ATLANTA -- Right-hander Ben Sheets made his first start in nearly two years Wednesday, pitching five innings for Double-A Mississippi. Sheets signed a Minor League contract with the Braves on Sunday and is beginning a comeback with the goal of returning to the Major Leagues later this month.

Sheets allowed four runs on five hits in five innings against Jackson, the Mariners' affiliate. Sheets struck out six batters and walked one. After struggling at the outset of his start, Sheets retired the final 10 batters he faced. Reportedly, Sheets' fastball sat in the low-90s, which matches what the Braves saw when he threw for them before signing.

Sheets is scheduled to make his next start Monday, again with Mississippi. He is expected to throw six innings and 90 pitches. After that start, general manager Frank Wren said the Braves will evaluate his progress. Sheets could join the Braves' rotation when they return from the All-Star break next week.

"We didn't sign him to be a Minor League player," Wren said Sunday. "We signed him to help us here."

Sheets is a four-time All-Star but has missed two of the last three years with elbow injuries. Sheets last pitched in the Major Leagues with the A's in 2010 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of that year.