Luiz Gohara threw to hitters in a live batting-practice session Thursday, passing what likely was the final test of his strained groin before the Braves prospect pitches in a game.
“He was OK,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Gohara’s session Thursday, the first time he’s faced hitters this spring. “He felt fine, did a little running afterward. Sunday, I think, we’re scheduled to get him in a game. It was OK. Biggest thing is he feels good. Now it’s just building him back.”
The stocky left-hander strained his groin running in one of the first spring-training workouts more than two weeks ago. He came to camp as a favorite to win one of the two open spots in the starting rotation, based on his showing in five September starts in his first major league call-up. Gohara, 21, was in high Single-A at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Now he’s the highest-rated Braves pitching prospect according to Baseball America, which had him at No. 23 on its Top 100 overall prospects before spring training.
Gohara might still have enough time to be ready before the Braves need a fifth starter. Because there are two scheduled days off in the first eight days of the schedule, the Braves wouldn’t need a fifth starter until April 10 at Washington in the 11th game of the season.
Four starters could handle the workload through 10 games without any of them going on short rest. That will also allow the Braves to carry an extra reliever or bench player in the early going.