The struggles of Atlanta's injury-depleted pitching staff has been discussed over and over again on this site and amongst Braves fans everywhere. Two fifths of Atlanta's opening day rotation is on the DL with their top two relievers from last year joining them. Don't worry though because reinforcements are on the way.
After throwing a two-inning simulated game on Tuesday, the timetable for Mike Gonzalez's return has been moved up to mid-May. That news couldn't come at a better time since the Braves learned that Peter Moylan will more than likely have to undergo season-ending elbow surgery. Back in the end of May when the lefty reliever underwent Tommy John surgery, he was expected back around the All-Star break. Since then, the Braves have moved it up to June, then late may, and now this. If he can come back and be effective, it will provide a significant boost to a fairly shaky pen.
Veteran starter Tom Glavine threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and Pitching Coach Roger McDowell reported no setbacks. Glavine, who strained his right hamstring in a start against the Nationals, is schedule to return from the DL next Tuesday, where he'll face the Nationals in Wahington again. A healthy Glavine will allow the Braves to move Jeff Benntt back into the pen and either Buddy Carlyle or Jorge Campillo back to Richmond.
Mike Hampton threw his third bullpen session since landing on the DL with a strained pectoral muscle. The veteran southpaw reportedly threw with near maximum effort and no pain, which is a very good sign. Hampton, who hasn't made a start for the Braves in over two years, will go on a minor league rehab assignment as early as Friday. Until Hampton fininshes his rehab, Chuck James will continue to occupy his spot in the rotation and with Chuck James showing some rust after coming of the DL, the Braves will probably be happy to not only get Hampton back, but give James some time in the minors. Cross your fingers guys.