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MIA@ATL: Minor discusses his return to the rotation

After a successful bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon, Braves left-hander Mike Minor will make his long-awaited season debut on Friday against the Giants. He joins what has been one of the best rotations in the Majors, as Atlanta returns home from a brief trip to Miami.

"We just wanted to make sure [Minor] is healthy and that he feels good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Tuesday. "You always want to err on that side. He looks good. So we'll pencil him in there for Friday."

Minor, whose return relegates David Hale to a bullpen role, could have returned to the club last week, but the Braves opted for Minor to make one more rehab start with Double-A Mississippi. He threw 81 pitches in seven innings.

"I feel good. They just wanted to make sure I made all of my preparations," Minor said.

Although Minor felt good following his rehab outing, the four home runs he surrendered on a windy night in Pensacola raised some concerns. Facing the Giants, who rank third in the Majors with 33 homers, will prove if those concerns are warranted.

No current Giants have homered against Minor, but Michael Morse and Buster Posey, whose six homers are tied with the Braves' Freddie Freeman, are one behind Atlanta's Evan Gattis and two behind the National League leaders. Morse is batting .444 (4-for-9) and Posey owns a .500 (4-for-8) career clip against Minor.

Morse has hit safely in seven of his past eight games, and Posey has steadily raised his batting average from .219 to .264 with a five-game hitting streak that has seen him bat .444 (8-for-18) as the Giants have won four of those five contests and six of their last seven.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy likes what he has seen from his entire lineup as of late and is confident that struggles that saw the Giants score just 15 runs in seven games from April 15-22 are behind them.

"I think we are closer to who we are now then from the stretch we had trouble scoring runs," Bochy said. "We're getting timely hitting and doing the little things right, grinding out at bats a little harder. We're getting better at-bats with runners on base. The first month you're trying to get a feel where you're at. I like where we are."

Tim Lincecum will oppose Minor on the mound for the Giants.

Giants: Hudson to miss former team
Right-hander Tim Hudson will not face his former club this weekend. Hudson, who went 8 2/3 innings to improve to 4-1 on Wednesday, owns a 2.17 ERA in six quality starts this season.

His six consecutive starts of seven innings or more match the longest such streak by a Giants pitcher since Livan Hernandez in 2002. His ERA is his third best in April after recording a 1.40 ERA in April 2007 and a 1.87 ERA in April 2002.

Hudson won 113 games in nine seasons with Atlanta before signing a two-year $23 million deal with San Francisco in November. He made 21 starts with the Braves in 2013 before suffering a season-ending right ankle fracture on June 24 at Citi Field.

"It's been a nice start to the season for me," Hudson said. "It's going to be nice getting back to Atlanta, just seeing some friends or friendly. Whether I had a great first month or not a great first month, it's going to be nice to get back there and see some familiar faces."

• Matt Cain, who was scratched with a cut finger on Tuesday, is expected to take his next turn in the rotation on Monday in Pittsburgh.

• Lincecum has performed better on the road than at home this season, but that is not saying much. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts away from home compared to his 0-1 record and 6.59 ERA in three starts in San Francisco.

Lincecum struggled with inconsistent mechanics in his most recent start, throwing 98 pitches in only 4 2/3 innings. He has recorded only one quality start in five outings this year, continuing a slide that began in 2012.

From 2007-11, Lincecum recorded 113 quality starts in 155 outings, a rate of 73 percent. Since the start of the 2012 season, Lincecum has recorded 29 quality starts in 70 outings for a rate of 41 percent.

Braves: Floyd to throw bullpen session Friday
Starting pitcher Gavin Floyd will throw a bullpen session on Friday and is expected to be activated from the disabled list sometime this weekend. Come Friday, Floyd's rehabilitation will hit the 30-day maximum for a pitcher.

"When he's ready to go, we'll put him in here some place," Gonzalez said. "Plug him in."

Floyd, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, made his final rehab start on April 29, throwing 77 pitches in five innings for Triple-A Gwinnett in Toledo, Ohio. He gave up one run on four hits, walked one and struck out five.

Worth noting
• Justin Upton is batting .224 (11-for-49) with four doubles, a triple, four RBIs, five walks and 17 strikeouts against Lincecum. Fellow Braves outfielder Jason Heyward is batting .286 (4-for-14) with a double, five walks and four strikeouts against Lincecum.

• The Giants are 6-6 on the road this season and have lost five of their past seven games away from home.

• The Braves are 9-3 at home this season, including a 5-1 record during their most recent homestand at Turner Field. Comments