SAN DIEGO -- Instead of sending Mike Minor to the Minor Leagues to iron out his difficulties, the Braves are instead going to skip his next turn in the rotation. The struggling southpaw is currently slated to rejoin the rotation for an Aug. 12 start against the Dodgers.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Minor will be used out of the bullpen next week. The hope is that the struggling left-hander will have time to make the adjustments necessary to distance himself from the troubles he's experienced while posting a 7.33 ERA and allowing opponents to produce a .403 on-base percentage in his past 10 starts.
"Minor was good with it," Gonzalez said. "He understood completely.'"
With two scheduled days off this upcoming week, the Braves were able to set this plan without affecting any of the other starting rotation members.
Gonzalez said he will spend the next week attempting to get Minor some multi-inning relief opportunities that would allow the southpaw a chance to work on his fastball command and also possibly regain confidence in some of his secondary pitches, namely his slider.
Minor's inability to consistently command his fastball and slider has led him to struggle against left-handed hitters. Though the sample size is not significant, it's certainly alarming that lefties have hit .384 (33-for-86) with a .426 on-base percentage against Minor. These two stats sat at .217 (39-for-180) and .260 last year.
Left-handed opponents have recorded six fewer hits in 94 fewer at-bats against Minor thus far this season.
After allowing a pair of two-run shots to Tommy Medica on Friday night, Minor has now allowed 1.65 home runs per nine innings. If he had compiled enough innings to qualify among the league leaders, that would stand as the second-worst mark in the Majors.
"You see some of those pitches Medica hit, not to take anything away from him, but those are middle-middle pitches," Gonzalez said. "Those pitches should be taken [deep] or used to decapitate one of the infielders. They're just bad pitches."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.