ATLANTA -- "Welcome to the life of a reliever."That's what Braves manager Brian Snitker told right-handed reliever Evan Phillips before the Braves' 5-4 Monday night walk-off win over the Reds when it became apparent Phillips would be sent back down to Triple-A Gwinnett after only 24 hours in Atlanta.The Braves
ATLANTA -- "Welcome to the life of a reliever."
That's what Braves manager Brian Snitker told right-handed reliever Evan Phillips before the Braves' 5-4 Monday night walk-off win over the Reds when it became apparent Phillips would be sent back down to Triple-A Gwinnett after only 24 hours in Atlanta.
The Braves announced Mike Foltynewicz would be reinstated off the 10-day disabled list to make the start against the Reds, meaning Phillips would be optioned back to Gwinnett to make room for Foltynewicz on the active roster.
Phillips received his first callup to the Majors on Saturday night when the Braves placed closer Arodys Vizcaino on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Snitker said before Monday's game that the decision to move Phillips was made, in part, to account for any "what ifs" with Foltynewicz coming off the DL, as well as to keep fellow reliever Lucas Sims in the bullpen.
Foltynewicz started Monday against the Reds after experiencing tightness in his right triceps after his July 12 start. The right-handed starter missed seven games while on the DL, but went five innings on Monday night and allowed just one hit, a home run to Scott Schebler in the fifth.
The plan for Monday was to give a few innings in relief to Sims, who was one of the most rested arms in the Braves' bullpen after a 15-inning bout with the Orioles on Friday depleted the core of Atlanta's relievers.
Snitker was hoping for longevity with Sims, which is the reason why Sims stayed and Phillips was sent back down to Gwinnett, but it wasn't what he got.
Coming out of the bullpen in the sixth inning, Sims quickly gave up three singles before walking in a run. And what started out as a way to spell some weary relievers turned into another night where the Braves were forced to go deep into the bullpen. Sims only lasted one inning, while allowing the Reds to tie the game.
"We had a couple of guys pitch tonight that I didn't really want to use and we were forced to use them," Snitker said after the game. "They could have used another day."
And while the decision to go with Sims meant Phillips had to go, his departure may not last for too long. Snitker said now that Phillips is in the mix of pitchers being called up off the 40-man roster, the next time the Braves need another arm in the bullpen, which may be sooner rather than later, it could be Phillips who gets the call.
"I told him, 'You'll get back up here. You're in the mix now,'" Snitker said. "It's exciting to get to bring one of our guys up and give him the opportunity, which he'll get at some point."
The right-handed reliever has found a groove at Gwinnett in recent appearances, recording 50 strikeouts through 35 innings with the Triple-A affiliate, while holding opponents to a .211 batting average. Phillips was drafted by the Braves in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
"I always believed I could be a big leaguer and dreamt about it my whole life," Phillips said on Sunday. "I really thought it was a possibility this year when I really got the ball rolling. I had to look myself in the mirror and think, 'This could really happen someday.'"
And though it didn't happen for Phillips this time around in Atlanta, the door is open for his return.
"We'll see him again," Snitker said.
Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.