ATLANTA -- Aaron Blair possesses an easygoing, even-keeled personality that shades some of the disappointment he's felt after posting a few ugly starts over the course of the past month. But the Braves rookie exited Monday's loss to the Reds with a look in his eye that seemed to affirm
ATLANTA -- Aaron Blair possesses an easygoing, even-keeled personality that shades some of the disappointment he's felt after posting a few ugly starts over the course of the past month. But the Braves rookie exited Monday's loss to the Reds with a look in his eye that seemed to affirm that he understands the need to alter his approach.
Though the 10.50 ERA produced over his past six starts should certainly confirm a need to make adjustments, Blair's attitude change might also be influenced by the firm pep talk catcher A.J. Pierzynski delivered during a mound visit after the Reds tallied six runs through Monday's first three innings.
"He kind of turned the switch on me and I got more aggressive as a pitcher, not only with my pitches, but with my attitude," said Blair, who will start Saturday against the Mets. "I'm just looking to carry that into tomorrow."
Because Blair ended up retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced after issuing a bases-loaded walk with none out in the third inning, the Braves opted to give him another start. Blair allowed the Reds six earned runs over six innings -- marking the third time he's allowed at least six earned runs within a span of five starts.
Some members of the Braves organization felt Blair could benefit from the chance to make adjustments in the less stressful environment he'd find in Triple-A Gwinnett. But with the rotation already decimated with injuries and no obvious improvement available at the Minor League level, pitching coach Roger McDowell successfully fought for Blair to get a chance to continue to learn in the Majors, much like Tom Glavine and John Smoltz did when they took their lumps during the early portions of their careers.
"It shows faith in me and that they believe in me," Blair said. "At the same time, I have to go out there and prove myself. Guys like Glavine and Smoltz, they weren't going out and walking people. They were just getting beat with their stuff. I'm kind of on the other end now. I'm walking people and giving up the two-run double. That's what is affecting me right now. I'm just not throwing enough strikes."
Odds and ends
• Mike Foltynewicz has reported no discomfort since beginning to throw off the mound earlier this week. Foltynewicz has been sidelined since June 3, when he was placed on the disabled list with a bone spur in his right elbow. The right-hander will likely make at least two rehab starts before returning to Atlanta's rotation.
• Third baseman Adonis Garcia was not in Friday's lineup because of a sore left ankle that forced to him to exit Thursday afternoon's win over the Reds. Manager Brian Snitker seemed hopeful Garcia could return to the lineup on Saturday.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.