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Thomas thrilled to make Opening Day roster

Thomas thrilled to make Opening Day roster

ROME, Ga. -- Ian Thomas cracked his first Major League team when the Braves officially announced their Opening Day roster on Saturday. Five years after he went undrafted out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Thomas is officially a Major Leaguer.

"This is everything I've always been working for my whole life," Thomas said. "It was tough. Out of college, I didn't get signed. I was living pretty much hand-to-mouth all in the indie leagues. Now, it's here. It's going to change a little bit."

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Like Thomas, right-hander Gus Schlosser and left-hander Ryan Buchter will join Atlanta's bullpen with the chance to pitch their first MLB innings on Monday in Milwaukee. Right-hander David Hale will occupy the fourth spot in the Braves' shorthanded rotation.

"We feel like David's got maybe some more weapons with all his repertoire at this point," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We also feel like Schloss, with his kind of side-armer, can help us get a ground ball in certain situations."

Gonzalez informed Thomas he had made the club on Thursday in Lakeland, Fla. However, Thomas was wary of receiving phone calls offering congratulations until his roster spot became official.

"They're already congratulating me," Thomas said, "and I'm like, 'Hey, I can't say anything yet. It's not set in stone.'"

Once his VCU career ended and he went undrafted in 2009, Thomas continued his baseball journey with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Independent Northern League. A 1.96 ERA in three seasons caught Atlanta's attention.

The Braves signed Thomas to a Minor League deal in 2012.

A combined 2.88 ERA in stops at Class A Rome and Double-A Mississippi the past two seasons earned him an invite to big league camp this spring. And a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings during Spring Training earned Thomas a chance to make his MLB debut.

"I was just thinking of making this team and not looking back," Thomas said. "I'm pretty much here, and I'm going to continue to move forward. I'm trying hard to earn my stripes and earn a legit spot and keep playing for the Braves."

Off the mound, catchers Ryan Doumit and Gerald Laird, infielders Tyler Pastornicky and Ramiro Pena and outfielder Jordan Schafer will make up Atlanta's bench.

Joe Morgan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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