NEW YORK -- Less than 12 hours after making his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium, Braves right-handed reliever Evan Phillips returned on Wednesday morning and promptly learned he had been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Phillips allowed just one hit -- a homer -- while working the final 2 1/3 innings of Tuesday's 8-5 loss to the Yankees. But the Braves entered Wednesday's game knowing they couldn't use Luke Jackson and didn't want to use Jesse Biddle, so they spun their reliever carousel yet again.
Atlanta recalled its No. 3 prospect, Luiz Gohara, from Triple-A to take Phillips' roster spot and provide a long-relief option. The 21-year-old southpaw, who had struggled since taking a 10-day bereavement leave near the end of May, allowed just an Aaron Judge solo homer over two innings in Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Gohara had given up nine hits and nine earned runs over 4 2/3 innings (three relief appearances) for Atlanta in June.
Gohara totaled six innings over the first two starts he made after being optioned to Gwinnett. But the big lefty permitted just three hits and two runs on 82 pitches over five innings against Charlotte on Saturday. Because Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims had been optioned to Gwinnett within the past 10 days, Gohara essentially stood as the only member of the 40-man roster who was eligible to be promoted without a player going on the disabled list.
Phillips may eventually become a key piece if provided an opportunity to stick with the Braves' bullpen for an extended period. The 23-year-old right-hander has been promoted twice over the past two weeks, but he has totaled just three days on Atlanta's 25-man roster.
This latest quick return to Gwinnett was simply a product of the Braves wanting to preserve their pitching depth, which has been weakened by injuries to Aaron Blair, Josh Ravin and Chase Whitley.
Instead of optioning Phillips, the Braves could have once again designated Jackson for assignment. Jackson might have extended his stay by limiting the Yankees to one run over three innings on Tuesday. When Jackson was designated in June, he opted for free agency and nearly signed with the White Sox before agreeing to rejoin the Braves' organization with a Major League deal.