KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Gwinnett starting rotation will likely be without Erik Cordier until May. The right-hander is coming back from an arthroscopic procedure on his elbow in January.
“He’s projected a month or so into the season, but that’s not a hard timetable,” Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. “He’s about four to six weeks behind.”
Cordier, a former second-round draft pick of Kansas City, has been plagued by injuries during his career, with reconstructive elbow surgery costing him all of the 2007 season.
But the Wisconsin native re-established himself as a solid prospect last season and his latest elbow issue is not considered a major setback.
“It was a real tiny clean out,” Wren said. “It’s just a matter of getting him back in shape.”
Cordier, 25, was 11-7 with a 3.71 ERA and 113 strikeouts last year with Class AA Mississippi and then made two starts for the G-Braves at the end of the International League season. He failed to get out of the first inning in his debut, but bounced back to throw 71⁄3 scoreless innings at Charlotte to close the season.
The Braves acquired Cordier from Kansas City during spring training in 2007 while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had earlier missed the 2005 season with the Royals because of a knee injury and started the 2009 season on the disabled list for Class A Myrtle Beach after a line drive fractured the tip of the ring finger on his pitching hand during spring training.
Cordier goes into the season ranked as Atlanta’s No. 13 prospect by Baseball America. With his history, he has to hope that it isn’t an unlucky number.
Reliever Sborz ailing
Jay Sborz, signed by Atlanta as a minor league free agent over the winter, is bothered by a sore shoulder and the relief pitcher also won’t be ready to start the season.
Sborz, 26, was a second-round draft choice of Detroit in 2003 and spent the first eight years of his career with the Tigers. He had 19 saves with Toledo in the International League last year and also got into one game with Detroit.
“We have him working with a physical therapist,” Wren said. “We really don’t know exactly when he’ll be ready.”
Sborz jump from Class A to AA and then AAA in the Detroit system during 2009 and was named Detroit’s No. 21 prospect by Baseball America after compiling a 2.27 ERA. But he had a 4.74 ERA last year with Toledo and was 1-6. He struck out 42 and walked 24 in 432⁄3 innings.
Marek makes impression
Although Stephen Marek didn’t make it past the second-round of Atlanta cuts on Thursday, the reliever showed Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez plenty of potential before be was optioned to Gwinnett.
Marek allowed one run and four hits in 61⁄3 innings of Grapefruit League action, but walked five while striking out six.
“He’s a big piece of this organization and I think we’ll see him in the major leagues,” Gonzalez said.
Marek, 27, was part of the Mark Teixeira trade with the Angels in 2008 and came into his own last season after struggling initially. He didn’t allow a run in 11 appearances at Mississippi, going 4-0 with four saves. Then he was 2-2 with a 1.43 ERA and nine saves in 49 games for the G-Braves, not allowing an earned run in 271⁄3 consecutive innings at one point.
Overall between Mississippi and Gwinnett, Marek had 74 strikeouts 631⁄3 innings.