Banuelos facing an innings limit

Despite rookie's strong debut vs. Scherzer, Braves proceeding cautiously post-Tommy John surgery

Banuelos facing an innings limit

ATLANTA -- Manny Banuelos will be restricted by an innings limit because of the significant caution the Yankees took as he returned from Tommy John surgery last year. But Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said no definite plans have been set for the rookie left-hander, who produced a stellar Major League debut while matching up against Max Scherzer in Thursday night's 2-1 win over the Nationals.

"I know there is a number out there, but I think if you follow it every individual is different," Gonzalez said. "I think with every case you have to be willing to do something different. But nobody has set a shutdown date or anything like that."

As Banuelos recorded seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 scoreless innings on Thursday night, he showed why the Braves believe he could provide value to their starting rotation for many years to come. But there is some uncertainty about his short-term future because he totaled just 76 1/3 innings while pitching in the Yankees Minor League system last year.

Though the Braves have not officially set a number, it has long been believed that Banuelos will be limited to 120-130 innings. Accounting for what he did over the past three months with Triple-A Gwinnett, the 24-year-old southpaw has already completed 88 1/3 innings and he will add to that total when he starts against the Brewers on Tuesday night.

The Braves have the option of moving Banuelos to the bullpen when Williams Perez (bruised left foot) is activated from the disabled list after the All-Star break. But Gonzalez said the team has not yet set a definite plan.

Banuelos made an abrupt exit from Thursday's game because of dehydration and cramping that he felt in both his left calf and fingers. He began feeling the discomfort at the start of the sixth inning, but he remained in the game until he hit Denard Span and Danny Espinosa with two outs.

When Banuelos returned to Turner Field on Friday, he said he was feeling fine. The Braves will now attempt to take the same precautions with him that they did with Tim Hudson, who often had IV fluids pumped into his system the night before starts because he too occasionally battled dehydration.

"[Banuelos] has really got to drink some fluids the night before and if we have to think of some other things, we'll do it," Gonzalez said.

Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the club since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.