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Braves activate Biddle, recall Parsons

@mlbbowman
May 14, 2019

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker gained a couple more multi-inning relief options Tuesday when left-hander Jesse Biddle was activated from the injured list and right-hander Wes Parsons was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Veteran left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins was designated for assignment to create room for one of these additions.

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Brian Snitker gained a couple more multi-inning relief options Tuesday when left-hander Jesse Biddle was activated from the injured list and right-hander Wes Parsons was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.

Veteran left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins was designated for assignment to create room for one of these additions. The other roster spot was vacated Sunday when Kyle Wright was sent back to Gwinnett to resume his role as a starting pitcher.

Blevins surrendered a three-run homer to Dodgers right-handed slugger Justin Turner last week, but he retired four of the six left-handed batters he faced after the Braves acquired him from the A’s on April 28.

Still, with Jonny Venters having been activated from the injured list Friday, the Braves did not see a need for two relievers whose value does not extend beyond being a left-handed specialist. Thus, Blevins became the odd man out.

Time will tell how long Biddle will be given to prove he can be a valuable fit within the Braves’ bullpen. After he issued eight walks, including two with the bases loaded, and scattered five hits over 2 2/3 innings from April 16-26, he was placed on the injured list with a right groin strain and right thigh contusion.

Biddle allowed just one hit and did not issue a walk while not allowing a run through his first four rehab appearances (three innings) for Gwinnett. But he retired just three of the nine batters he faced and allowed five hits over 1 1/3 innings of Saturday’s game against Pawtucket.

Unfortunately, that trend continued when Biddle replaced Mike Foltynewicz during the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s game. He allowed hits to each of the first four batters faced, including St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty, who entered with a .091 batting average.

It would be good for the Braves if Biddle can get back to where he was when he posted a 1.63 ERA and limited opponents to a .255 on-base percentage during a 27 2/3-inning stretch that spanned from June 2 to Aug. 7. Left-handed hitters slashed .128/.227/.308, and right-handed hitters slashed .167/.274/.204 against him during this span.

But for the most part, Biddle has been a reverse-splits guy since finally reaching the Majors with the Braves last year. Right-handed hitters have slashed .201/.316/.274 and lefties have slashed .272/.357/.447 against the southpaw.

With Biddle and the seemingly recharged Sean Newcomb now in the bullpen, the Braves have a pair of left-handed relievers capable of working multiple innings. The preference would obviously be to use Biddle against the right-handed-heavy portion of a lineup.

Parsons will likely serve as the long relief option. The rookie reliever posted a 4.35 ERA in 12 appearances for Atlanta before he was optioned to Gwinnett.

Atlanta received some encouraging bullpen news when Darren O'Day was cleared to begin a throwing program Tuesday. The veteran right-handed reliever missed most of Spring Training with a right forearm strain and was slowed in April after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.