ATLANTA -- Now that Arodys Vizcaino has spent the past two months resting his troublesome right shoulder, the Braves will spend the season's final two weeks evaluating whether he might be durable enough to be a potential postseason asset.Vizcaino was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday to serve
ATLANTA -- Now that Arodys Vizcaino has spent the past two months resting his troublesome right shoulder, the Braves will spend the season's final two weeks evaluating whether he might be durable enough to be a potential postseason asset.
Vizcaino was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday to serve as one of the 20 pitchers the Braves are now carrying on the expanded roster. The bullpen depth provides manager Brian Snitker an opportunity to slowly reacclimate his former closer, who still must prove his shoulder can handle a regular workload.
"We'll just pick a spot here and there to try to see where he's at," Snitker said. "Who knows? In two weeks … we'll see."
Given the Braves have not clinched anything, Snitker stopped after saying "in two weeks" because he doesn't want to talk about potential postseason plans. But the primary reason to activate Vizcaino was to take advantage of the chance to use these two weeks as an audition for what would be the playoff roster.
"I don't know if we'll put him in the eighth inning with a lead yet or anything like that, but there may be a spot we can work him in and try to get him as regular as we can," Snitker said.
Vizcaino posted a 1.65 ERA and converted 15 of 17 save opportunities before his shoulder became problematic and forced him to be shut down just before the All-Star break. If healthy, he could certainly be an asset in a bullpen that is without a full-time closer while A.J. Minter continues to familiarize himself with the role during his first full Major League season.
But before getting excited about the possibility of adding Vizcaino to a late-inning mix that also includes Brad Brach, Jonny Venters, Dan Winkler and Jesse Biddle, the Braves need to ensure the two-month absence was a sufficient remedy.
Vizcaino did not pitch for two weeks after making four appearances within a five-day span from June 13-17. He was activated from the disabled list on July 4 and shut down again one week later, after making just three appearances.
"We'll just see how he feels when he is [torquing his shoulder] with adrenaline going and everything," Snitker said. "Then after we do it, we'll have to see where he's at the next day."
Luiz Gohara's frustration-filled, injury-plagued season officially came to a close when he was placed on the 60-day disabled list to create a 40-man roster spot for Vizcaino. Snitker said Gohara will spend most of the offseason rehabbing his left shoulder. But the big lefty will also benefit from the chance to spend an entire offseason getting in shape.
A few weeks after returning to his native Brazil after making a strong first impression last August, Gohara began tending to his ailing father, who suddenly passed away in December. His mother fell ill around the same time and underwent heart surgery that led to Gohara spending a week on the bereavement list in late May.
After entering this season as a projected member of Atlanta's rotation and a potential National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate, Gohara ended up posting a 5.95 ERA over 19 2/3 innings for Atlanta and a 4.94 ERA over 54 2/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett. His struggles followed a Spring Training that was essentially eliminated by a strained groin and sprained ankle.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.