PHILADELPHIA -- As the Braves adjust to their transition to a seven-man bullpen that is stacked with relievers who are out of Minor League options, they may attempt to keep their relief corps fresh by routinely promoting Luke Jackson, Aaron Blair or Matt Wisler to experience short stints on the
PHILADELPHIA -- As the Braves adjust to their transition to a seven-man bullpen that is stacked with relievers who are out of Minor League options, they may attempt to keep their relief corps fresh by routinely promoting Luke Jackson, Aaron Blair or Matt Wisler to experience short stints on the big league roster.
It was Wisler's turn on Sunday, as he was called up to fill the roster void created by Blair being sent back to Gwinnett to get a chance to resume serving as a starting pitcher. Blair did not pitch during the three games he spent on Atlanta's roster after being called up on Thursday to replace Jackson, who was sent down because he had pitched each of the previous three days.
"They are just optionable pieces," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We don't want to just sit on [Blair] in the bullpen. We want him to start and stay somewhat regular. We probably would have brought [Wisler] up the other day if he hadn't just pitched because he had been throwing the ball pretty good. So, we'll just use him out of the bullpen for a while and see where it goes."
Along with having Minor League options, Jackson, Blair and Wisler are also already on the 40-man roster. So, in terms of short-term fixes, they are viewed as better options than veteran relievers David Hernandez and Jason Motte, who are currently pitching for Gwinnett.
The Braves have a vacant spot on their 40-man roster, and thus could fill it with either Hernandez or Motte. But as they have a more pressing need to improve their bench, they want to conserve that spot for now.
Wisler arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday morning understanding that he might not necessarily be back at the big league level too long. While he's present, he could be used as either a long reliever or middle reliever.
The Braves began making changes within their bullpen after Josh Collmenter threw 50 pitches during Wednesday's loss to the Nationals. Collmenter had recovered enough to be available for long relief duty by Saturday, but Snitker indicated he might opt to use the veteran right-hander as a middle relief option, while Wisler is present to serve as a potential long reliever.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.