Minor blanks Lookouts

Minor blanks Lookouts

Top Atlanta prospect gets his first pro win while adding to his league-leading strikeout total.

May 12th, 2010 by David Paschall in Sports

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer made a respectable rehab appearance Tuesday night for Mississippi, but the evening belonged to teammate Mike Minor.

Minor, who was pitching at Vanderbilt University this time last year, earned his first professional victory as the Double-A Braves blanked Chattanooga 5-0 before a crowd of 4,134 at AT&T Field. The 22-year-old left-hander allowed one hit in six innings and struck out eight batters, which increased his Southern League-leading tally to 54.

Atlanta drafted Minor in the first round last June and signed him in August for $2.42 million.

"It feels really good, actually," Minor said. "The last couple of outings I've felt good, but I've had one bad inning and couldn't come out of it. I thought I was going to lose it again in the fifth, but I picked a guy off and struck a guy out and struck another guy out."

Minor retired the first 10 Lookouts and took a no-hitter into the fifth, when it was broken up by Eddy Perez's single to left. He improved to 1-3 and lowered his ERA from 4.99 to 4.17.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is known for his changeup, but he dominated the Lookouts (14-18) with his fastball.

"He commanded his fastball good," Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman said. "His velocity was good. Velocity is not that important to me, but if you've got it and can command it, it's nice."

Said Lookouts center fielder Trayvon Robinson: "He has good stuff and had good stuff tonight. You just tip your hat to him."

Lookouts starter Alberto Bastardo worked a 1-2-3 first inning but allowed a double and a single to open the second and gave up a run. The Braves (16-16) made it 2-0 in the third inning on a Donell Linares RBI double to left field and made it 4-0 in the fifth when Linares belted a two-run homer to left-center.

Schafer was Atlanta's top prospect after the 2007 season, when he led all minor leaguers with 176 hits, and made his big-league debut last year, hitting .204 in 50 games while battling an injured left wrist. He underwent surgery last September and arrived Tuesday from Single-A Rome, where he hit .273 in six games.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder went 2-for-5, striking out in his first two at-bats and singling in his last two.

"We just want to see four days without him going backwards physically and health-wise," Wellman said. "Anything he does to help us is a plus, but our job is to provide an opportunity for him to play nine innings the next three or four days and progress to getting back to the big leagues."

Schafer hit .269 in 84 games with Mississippi two years ago but never played in Chattanooga as a result of a 50-game suspension for testing positive for human growth hormone.

Chris Withrow (1-2, 7.48 ERA) is the Lookouts' scheduled starting pitcher for this morning's 11:15 game, with Jacob Thompson (2-2, 5.31) scheduled for the Braves.