MLB

Braves to go with Beachy as 5th starter

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP)

Brandon Beachy has won the job as the Atlanta Braves' fifth starter, beating out fellow rookie Mike Minor and veteran Rodrigo Lopez.

General manager Frank Wren made the announcement Thursday, clearing up perhaps the most compelling issue of the spring for Atlanta. Minor was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett along with two other roster contenders, outfielder Jordan Schafer and infielder Diory Hernandez.

The 24-year-old Beachy will join a rotation that already included Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens. All are right-handers.

Later in the day, however, Jurrjens felt a tweak in his right ribcage while he was pitching against Toronto. He was pulled after one inning as a precaution.

Beachy has a 1.80 ERA in three spring training games with 10 strikeouts and three walks in 10 innings. He really impressed the Braves with his poise when called up during a playoff race late last year. He went 0-2 in three starts, but allowed only five earned runs in 15 innings.

In the minors, Beachy was combined 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA splitting time between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.

''We made the decision that Beachy was ahead of Mike at this time in the fifth-starting-pitcher competition,'' Wren said.

The left-handed Minor went into spring training considered the favorite to win the job. The seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft pitched well, posting a 0.90 ERA with seven strikeouts and four walks in 10 innings.

Last season, Minor pitched in nine games for the Braves, going 3-2 with a 5.98 ERA. He got off to a strong start but struggled with his command and focus.

Lopez was insurance in case the youngsters faltered. Neither did.

With Hernandez heading to the minors, non-roster invitee Ed Lucas has likely earned a spot on the team as a backup shortstop. Schafer came into camp hoping to reclaim the starting job he had at the beginning of the 2009 season but never made a serious run at beating out Nate McLouth in center field.

The Braves also optioned right-handers Juan Abreu and Jairo Asencio to Gwinnett. In addition, the team announced that left-hander Lee Hyde was claimed off waivers by the Washington Nationals and left-hander Jose Ortegano was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees, leaving 33 players in the major league camp.

Tagged: Braves, Mike Minor, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy

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