- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

ROME, Ga. (AP) - Mike Minor is looking forward to rejoining the Braves‘ rotation as soon as possible.

The left-hander moved closer to that goal by reporting no discomfort in his left shoulder in his first game of the spring.

Minor retired all four batters in a rain-shortened appearance and the Atlanta Braves lost 13-4 to the Braves Future Stars in an exhibition game Saturday.

Minor, who was scheduled to pitch two innings, didn’t return following a 44-minute rain delay in the second inning.

The good news is Minor reported no problems after having his spring schedule delayed by tendinitis in his shoulder.

“It feels good,” Minor said. “I didn’t really throw that many pitches.”

Minor will open the season on the 15-day disabled list.

“It felt good to actually pitch in a game atmosphere,” Minor said “… Hopefully, I can be back with the team in a couple of weeks.”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves hope Minor and right-hander Gavin Floyd, recovering from shoulder surgery, are ready by the end of April.

The Braves need Minor to get healthy after losing starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to season-ending elbow injuries.

Minor, a 13-game winner in 2013, retired the Future Stars in order on only eight pitches in the first inning. He recorded a groundout to open the second before heavy rain caused the delay.

The delay was short, but the Braves were taking no chances with Minor’s shoulder. Pitching coach Roger McDowell and manager Fredi Gonzalez inspected the mound near the end of the delay before McDowell motioned to the bullpen, ending Minor’s day.

“It was fine,” Gonzalez said of Minor’s short day. “First time out there, it was good.”

The Braves had good reason to use caution with Minor.

Minor had urinary tract surgery on Dec. 31 and then had a sore shoulder in Florida. The left-hander is being counted on to join Julio Teheran and Ervin Santana as leaders of the depleted rotation.

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