Braves Sign RHP Aaron Harang After Releasing Freddy Garcia

Monday, March 24, 2014
Former Red, Aaron Harang
Former Red, Aaron Harang
- photo by Tim Evearitt
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Hours after parting ways with Freddy Garcia, the Braves believe they found a better option in Aaron Harang.

Early Monday evening, a baseball executive confirmed the Braves are set to sign Harang. Terms of the potential agreement were not immediately revealed, and the Braves have not officially confirmed the deal.

Harang compiled a 2.00 ERA while completing nine Cactus League innings for the Indians this spring. But when he learned he would not begin the season in Cleveland's starting rotation, he asked for and was granted his unconditional release.

In other words, Harang was essentially in the same position as Garcia, who was given his unconditional release early Monday afternoon after the Braves informed him that he would not be on their Opening Day roster.

When Braves general manager Frank Wren explained the decision to release Garcia despite the fact that his club has limited pitching depth, he indicated he was close to landing what he believed would be a better option.

Harang, 35, has dealt with multiple injury woes that have robbed him of the arm strength he had when he spent the early portion of his career with the A's and Reds. He posted a 5.40 ERA while combining for 26 starts with the Mets and Mariners in 2013.

Encouraged by the reports they received from scouts who saw Harang pitch this month in Arizona, the Braves opted to take a chance on the veteran right-hander with the hope he will provide quality depth until their injury-depleted starting rotation starts to become whole again over the next month.

The Braves will begin the season with a four-man starting rotation that will likely consist of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Harang and David Hale. A five-man rotation will be employed when the recently signed Ervin Santana is ready to be activated during the regular season's second week. This rotation will be further fortified when Gavin Floyd and Mike Minor are deemed ready. Floyd and Minor are both aiming to join the rotation during April's fourth week.

Garcia did not allow an earned run in three of his five Grapefruit League starts. After struggling in two consecutive outings, including the one he made while his wife was in labor, he limited the Mets to two hits and one unearned run over 5 1/3 innings on Sunday.

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