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Thomas nearly perfect in Major League return

Thomas back

When Braves pitcher Jordan Walden went on the disabled list on Mother’s Day, it opened the door back up for former Revolution lefty Ian Thomas, who was recalled to Atlanta.  Thomas was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett back on May 5 after 10 MLB appearances so he could start in order to throw more pitches, to develop a better slider.  His cameo at Gwinnett lasted just one abbreviated home start, when he tossed three scoreless and hitless innings against Buffalo, striking out five.

In Thomas’s three appearances since re-joining the big club, he’s pitched two-thirds of an inning each in three appearances, at home against the Cubs (May 11), at the Giants (May 13) and at the Cardinals (May 16).  He has not allowed a run in his Major League return, and has struck out five in that time (2.2 IP).  Aside from one walk against the Cubs and one hit against the Giants, he was responsible for no other base runners.

We’ll see if Thomas’s latest promotion is permanent for the rest of this season, or if he returns to Triple-A to start once again to keep developing that slider.  He is certainly getting along well without it in the Majors at the moment, but at just 26 the Braves are thinking long term to make him the best MLB pitcher he can be and not short term, which only says good things about his future with Atlanta, despite the Triple-A assignment.  A return to the minors wouldn’t be a surprise; you can’t really use big league innings to try out new things.  But the fact remains that his last assignment to Triple-A wasn’t based on performance, and if there is a next one, that wouldn’t be either, as evidenced by his MLB numbers.

-Paul Braverman


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