Jason Lane's path back to the majors after a six-year hiatus has been rather interesting, going from hitting 20-plus homers in a season as a position player during his first stint to earning his way back as a pitcher.
With Ian Kennedy injured, the San Diego Padres will make Lane the oldest pitcher in seven years to make his first major league start as he faces the Atlanta Braves on Monday night at Turner Field.Lane played as an outfielder for Houston and San Diego from 2002-07, hitting .267 with 26 homers and 78 RBIs in 145 games during his best season in 2005 with the Astros.The left-hander signed minor league contracts with eight different teams beginning in 2008 and eventually converted to a pitcher's role. The Padres (46-58) called up Lane earlier this season, but he was designated for assignment June 7 after having no record in 4 1/3 scoreless innings over two relief appearances.Now with Kennedy having to miss Monday's start due to a strained left oblique, Lane at 37 years, 218 days becomes the oldest pitcher to make his first major league start since 38-year-old Troy Percival in 2007.No pitcher at least Lane's age making his first start in the majors has gone more than five innings since 42-year-old Satchel Paige went seven for Cleveland on Aug. 3, 1948.Manager Bud Black is hoping Kennedy will be able to go Friday or Saturday as the Braves visit Petco Park."We think it's a one-start thing," Black told MLB's official website. "We're going to err on the side of caution with him."Lane, 6-8 with a 4.67 ERA in 19 starts this season for Triple-A El Paso, will look to help San Diego avoid dropping the final three of this four-game series after it fell 8-3 to the Braves on Sunday.Yangervis Solarte, acquired Tuesday in the trade that sent Chase Headley to the New York Yankees, homered and became the first player in franchise history to drive in a run in his first five games.Chris Johnson, Justin Upton and Ryan Doumit each drove in two runs for Atlanta (57-48), which is 1 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead.The Braves look to keep rolling behind Ervin Santana as he seeks to win a third straight outing.Santana (9-6, 3.87 ERA) gave up one run and struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings of a 6-1 victory over Miami on Wednesday. He's 4-1 with a 3.15 ERA over his last five outings."I threw a lot strikes and I mixed all of the pitches that I had," Santana said. "It worked, so it was a good game."The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Padres, though he hasn't faced them since 2012 while with the Los Angeles Angels.Carlos Quentin will go on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left knee before this game for San Diego, which will activate infielder Jedd Gyorko from the DL. Gyorko has been out since June 4 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Evan Gattis broke a scoreless tie with a solo HR in the 7th inning, his 7th career go-ahead HR that late in the game, and he's only in his 2nd season. That's tied for the most in the major leagues over the past 2 seasons.
Ian Kennedy has gotten batters to miss on 38.2 percent of their swings against his changeup this season, fifth-best in the NL amongst qualified pitchers. Chris Johnson has missed on 52 percent of his swings against changeups this year, worst in the majors amongst qualified batters.
Ervin Santana struck out 11 and didn't walk anybody in 8 innings of scoreless work. He joins a list of some pretty good pitchers to do that for the Braves the past 20 seasons.
ELIAS: Jason Lane joins hall-of-famer Jimmie Foxx as the only 2 players since 1900 to hit at least 25 home runs in a single season prior to their first career major league start as a pitcher. Lane is 1 of 6 players since 1900 to hit 25 HR in a season and start a major league baseball game at pitcher period.