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Santana could make final Minors start this week

Santana could make final Minors start this week

MILWAUKEE -- While Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd are still in the early stages of their rehab stints, Ervin Santana will make what could be his final Minor League start this week.

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell said Santana is scheduled to complete up to six innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in Friday's game against Durham. If Santana gets his pitch count up around 100 and exits the outing feeling strong, there is a chance he could start Atlanta's April 9 game against the Mets.

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Since signing Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million contract on March 12, the Braves have said they would not rush him through his preseason preparations. Thus, manager Fredi Gonzalez said there is still a chance Santana's debut might not come until the April 14 series opener in Philadelphia.

Minor, who was behind schedule during Spring Training because of a Dec. 31 urinary tract procedure, and Floyd, who is attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, are both in line to potentially join Atlanta's rotation at some point after April 21.

While Minor will attempt to complete three innings for Double-A Mississippi on Thursday, Floyd will be in Durham attempting to do the same for Gwinnett. The two pitchers are currently scheduled to complete four innings in piggyback fashion for Gwinnett on April 8.

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

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