Minor out with shoulder trouble

Braves lefty will have to back up on his spring routine with a shoulder issue.

The Braves announced Wednesday that left-handed starter Mike Minor will be backed off his first scheduled start of the spring as he deals with tightness in his left shoulder.

Minor first experienced the issue Tuesday in a throwing session. Considering Minor had shoulder trouble at the beginning and end of last season, the Braves want to be very careful with their starting pitcher.

The Braves will conduct tests on Minor's shoulder soon. The team had been very encouraged by his early throwing sessions and believed he would be ready for a full spring training.

Minor had a rough season last year as he started the season a bit late with the shoulder issue. He had a 4.77 ERA in 25 starts, with 165 hits allowed in 145.1 innings. The Braves actually shut Minor down late in the season with more shoulder trouble.

If Minor has to miss significant time, and if he were unable to start the season, the Braves would have even more competition for the rotation this spring. Wandy Rodriguez struggled in his first appearance Wednesday, as he gave up one run on two hits and two walks in one inning of work.

Another candidate for the rotation, Chien-Ming Wang, struck out three and did not allow an earned run in two innings. Wang is considered a long shot for one of the positions in the rotation.

The Braves also have three others battling for the fifth starter's job that will now be even more under the spotlight with Minor's injury. Veteran Eric Stults has been considered the favorite. Plus, young pitchers Manny Banuelos and Mike Foltynewicz will get a great shot with a number of innings this month.

Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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