MILWAUKEE -- The Braves' Tyler Flowers broke his left hand right before the All-Star break and Arodys Vizcaíno strained his right oblique muscle right after the break. Julio Teheran has been healthy throughout just one of the three starts he has made since pitching in the All-Star Game.Yet somehow, some
MILWAUKEE -- The Braves' Tyler Flowers broke his left hand right before the All-Star break and Arodys Vizcaíno strained his right oblique muscle right after the break. Julio Teheran has been healthy throughout just one of the three starts he has made since pitching in the All-Star Game.
Yet somehow, some way, the Braves have been able to patch together a rotation and spend the past couple weeks playing better than they have at any point this season. But it goes without saying they're looking forward to the possibility of activating Flowers, Vizcaino and Teheran from the disabled list at differing points during next week's homestand.
Teheran will throw off a mound at the Braves' Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Thursday and then could be cleared to complete as many as five innings in a Minor League rehab game. If this rehab game is completed by Tuesday, the All-Star hurler would be in position to make a start before this next homestand concludes on Aug. 21.
After lowering his ERA to 2.79 with seven scoreless innings against the Rockies on July 17, Teheran was forced to exit his July 22 start at Coors Field because of upper back tightness. He returned eight days later to complete five innings against the Phillies, but the lingering discomfort forced him to go on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
The Braves could also soon recall Matt Wisler, who has pitched effectively in the two starts he has made since being demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Jorge De La Cruz and Roberto Hernandez are the most likely candidates to be removed from the rotation once Teheran and Wisler return. Rob Whalen has pitched effectively enough in his first two career starts to seemingly stand as a better option than John Gant, who could also soon be deemed ready to return from a left oblique strain.
Flowers was fortunate that his previously fractured left hand was not placed in a hard cast. Having the ability to continue using his left arm enabled him to avoid atrophy and quickly ease into his rehab, which has been accelerated as he has spent this week catching and hitting at the Spring Training complex. He could begin a short rehab assignment this weekend.
Once Flowers returns to serve as Atlanta's primary catcher, the Braves will have to decide what to do with A.J. Pierzynski and Anthony Recker, who has made a good impression as he has received regular playing time while Flowers has been disabled. Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said the team has toyed with carrying three catchers. But given the lack of defensive versatility each of these catchers has, this would seemingly not be a viable option until rosters expand in September.
Flowers compiled some at-bats during the simulated game Vizcaino completed in Florida on Wednesday. Before being activated, Vizcaino will likely need to make at least three rehab appearances, including a pair that would be completed on consecutive days. But there is still a chance this could positon him to rejoin the bullpen before the end of this next homestand.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.