LOS ANGELES -- As the Braves attempt to create some stability within their bullpen, they hope to benefit from the return of veteran Jim Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list before Friday night's series opener against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.Ryan Weber was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to
LOS ANGELES -- As the Braves attempt to create some stability within their bullpen, they hope to benefit from the return of veteran Jim Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list before Friday night's series opener against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Ryan Weber was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to create a roster spot for Johnson, who posted a 7.90 ERA over 13 2/3 innings (15 appearances) before being placed on the disabled list on May 10 with a right groin strain.
As Johnson gained a mental break over the past three weeks, he spent some time at the Braves' Spring Training complex refining his mechanics in an attempt to get back to the successful form he possessed before the Braves traded him to the Dodgers prior to last year's Trade Deadline. The former All-Star closer completed three scoreless innings while making rehab appearances for Class A Rome and Gwinnett over the past week.
Johnson could once again become the Braves' primary setup man, a role that has also been filled by Bud Norris and the recently traded Jason Grilli at points this season. Johnson certainly proved worthy of handling the responsibility when he posted a 2.25 ERA in the 49 appearances he made for Atlanta last year.
Over the 18 2/3 innings he completed for the Dodgers, Johnson produced a 10.13 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .381 with a .442 on-base percentage. He surrendered at least one run in nine of the 23 appearances made for Los Angeles and was sent home before the postseason began.
Johnson underwent double hernia surgery in October, but the Braves still showed their faith in the veteran reliever by giving him a one-year, $2.5 million deal this past offseason.
After allowing two runs in two of his first four appearances this season, Johnson produced seven consecutive scoreless innings from April 15-28. But the Braves opted to shut him down when he surrendered eight earned runs over a three-inning span from April 29-May 8.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.