LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez did not officially say Jhoulys Chacin and Daniel Winkler would be on the Opening Day roster. But after watching the two right-handers make yet another good impression during Friday's 2-2 tie with the Rays, he acknowledged that both have done all they could to earn a spot.
"Both of them have done a good job, and I'm really, really pleased with Winkler's progress," Gonzalez said. "Chacin has done nothing but be really good."
The Braves' front office and coaching staff discussed final roster decisions on Friday evening. The Opening Day roster could be announced as early as Saturday morning and as late as Sunday afternoon. It would certainly be surprising if Chacin and Winkler were not both included.
After limiting the Rays to one run over 4 2/3 innings on Friday, Chacin had a 3.00 ERA over 21 Grapefruit League innings. Yes, it's alarming that he surrendered 28 hits and issued eight walks while facing 99 batters.
But with Mike Foltynewicz needing a couple more weeks to prepare for the season and Manny Banuelos sidelined with elbow discomfort, the Braves have little choice but to begin the season with Chacin as their fourth starter. Williams Perez will likely serve as the fifth starter.
"[Chacin] has pitched good enough to warrant a really, really good conversation," Gonzalez said. "But, what else could he have done? This guy is a veteran guy who has pitched well."
While Chacin has provided some indication that he's distancing himself from the right shoulder issues that have plagued him the past two seasons, Winkler has looked like the guy the Braves envisioned when they took him in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft knowing that he would miss most of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Winkler recorded 17 strikeouts and did not issue a walk while limiting opponents to eight hits and three runs over 11 Grapefruit League innings. The 26-year-old right-hander would provide the Braves a potential multi-inning option in their bullpen.
Because Winkler was injured most of last season, the Braves would only need to keep him on their active roster through the first week of June to avoid having to offer him back to the Rockies, who owned his rights before he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
"There's something about that arm action and delivery that guys don't quite get a good look at," Gonzalez said. "On the contrary, you see guys throwing 98 [mph] who get their stuff turned around. They don't get good hacks [off Winkler]."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.