- CSNwashington.com - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Desperate for healthy arms help after a sudden spate of pitching injuries, the Braves signed Ervin Santana to a 1-year, $14 million contract Wednesday morning, a quick (and expensive) move club officials felt they had no choice but to make.

Atlanta saw two of its top three starters go down earlier this week. Kris Medlen suffered ligament damage in his right elbow, which already was repaired via Tommy John surgery three years ago. Brandon Beachy also left a Grapefruit League start with elbow soreness, though the right-hander is hopeful it’s nothing serious.

That created a sudden need for pitching and bolstered the market for Santana, who remained unsigned into March because clubs weren’t willing to give up a draft pick for the 31-year-old right-hander, who was given a qualifying offer by the Royals last fall. The Blue Jays and Orioles had been among the teams pursuing Santana over the last week, but then the Braves had a sudden need and a deal got finalized in short order.

Santana went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA over 32 starts for Kansas City last season. In a nine-year career with the Angels and Royals, he’s 105-90 with a 4.19 ERA.

Even with this addition, the Braves still face a potential pitching shortage. If Medlen, Beachy and left-hander Mike Minor (slow to recover from offseason surgery) aren’t ready by Opening Day, Atlanta would open the season with a rotation of Santana, Julio Teheran, Freddy Garcia, David Hale and Alex Wood.

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