Ben Sheets off and running for the M-Braves

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The four-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2004 Cy Young runner-up Ben Sheets is on his way to making a comeback to the big leagues. How long will it take is anyone’s guess, but the promising sign is that the right-hander is out there on the mound, competing against hitters. Atlanta signed him for a reason, but it may take some patience as Sheets shakes off the rust.

Coming off two years of rehab following Tommy John surgery, Sheets took the long route back to baseball. The last time he appeared in a game was in 2010 for the Oakland Athletics. That season he went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 119.1 innings of work, where he struck out 84 and walked 43 batters.

The 33-year-old made his first professional baseball start in two years on Wednesday, the Fourth of July, for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. Sheets completed 5.0 innings and surrendered four earned runs on five hits and struck out six, while walking just one en route to the loss against the Jacksonville Suns. The right-hander’s ERA currently rests at 7.20 for the year.

Sheets has been around baseball, seemingly for ages. However, at 33 years old, he is still relatively young and well within in his limits to make a positive return. We saw Pedro Martinez dominate for the Phillies a couple years ago in the second half of the season, after people clamored that Martinez was done. If Jaime Moyer can still find a job at 49 years old, I don’t see why Sheets can’t make a difference in someone’s rotation.

The great thing for us and the Braves is that we’ll have the opportunity to witness the difference he can make in the Atlanta rotation eventually. However, for the time being, he’ll need some practice and repetition to help his confidence. After that, if he’s healthy, the man could be scary good. I’m willing to bet that Sheets is ready to prove that to a lot of people in the coming weeks.

By: Tony Piraro

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