Floyd to start in place of Santana on Tuesday

Floyd to start in place of Santana on Tuesday

ATLANTA -- Braves right-hander Gavin Floyd's season debut will come on Tuesday night against the Cardinals as he makes a spot start in place of right-hander Ervin Santana, who has a bruise on his right hand near his thumb.

The Braves will not place Santana on the disabled list and expect him to make his next scheduled start next weekend during the Cubs series.

"You know how we always talked about, 'It'll take care of itself''?" Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's going to take care of itself for a week or five or six days, but then we're going to have to make a decision the next time around. We're not going to go with a six-man [rotation] the rest of the way, but for now, it took care of itself."

Santana suffered the injury while batting against Reds starter Homer Bailey, who jammed Santana with an inside pitch on April 25. His thumb started swelling again near the end of his most recent start against the Marlins on Thursday at Marlins Park.

"I could barely hold the ball, so that's why they made the decision to skip one start," Santana said. "I'll be fine. I'll be fine for the next one. I'm just getting treatment, and it's getting better."

Santana's skipped start paves the way for Floyd, whose role was in flux as Atlanta planned to activate him from the disabled list on Sunday. Left-handed reliever Ian Thomas was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Floyd.

The Braves are not sure what is next for Floyd, who appears headed for a bullpen role that includes occasional starts. Given the success Atlanta's rotation has had so far this season, Floyd knew his return presented a complicated situation.

However, as the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery nears, Floyd is OK with taking his return one day at a time, and that begins with Tuesday's start.

"There's no expectation," Floyd said. "They told me today that I'm going to be starting Tuesday, and I'm excited about that. I'm excited to get back out there and pitch again and have a second chance to pitch. Just focusing on that, and after that, whatever happens will be dealt with."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.