WASHINGTON -- After watching Braves closer Craig Kimbrel cleanly field two ground balls in a perfect ninth inning against the Giants on Thursday, Ben Sheets approached the strikeout artist and playfully said, "I really like what you did with your PFP [pitcher fielding practice]."
One week into his career with the Braves, Sheets appears quite comfortable in the clubhouse and confident in his ability to once again frustrate Major League hitters.
"He's got that personality," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He seems like a great guy. He's in the dugout, watching the game and talking to the guys. I asked him during [Wednesday's] extra-inning game if he could pinch-run or pinch-hit. 'He said, I can throw an inning for you, but you don't want me to do the other stuff.'"
Two years after feeling his career was over when he had torn the flexor tendon in his right elbow, Sheets returned to the Majors last Sunday and limited the Mets to two hits over six scoreless innings. While he might not have the overpowering fastball that he possessed during his successful days with the Brewers, the former All-Star showed good command and the ability to keep hitters off-balance with his curveball.
Sheets will attempt to build on that performance when he faces the Nationals in the first game of Saturday's day-night doubleheader. The veteran indicated that he did not care which game he started during the twin bill.
"It really doesn't matter to me," Sheets said. "I could be good or I could be bad in either one."