Elbow inflammation shelves Braves' Banuelos
Already on innings limit this season, left-hander placed on 15-day DL
BALTIMORE -- Though the Braves were concerned when they saw Manny Banuelos throw a few fastballs that registered between 86-88 mph during Friday's start in St. Louis, they did not decide to shut the left-hander down until he arrived at Camden Yards on Monday afternoon still feeling some discomfort in his pitching elbow.
Banuelos was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with left elbow inflammation, and he will undergo a MRI exam later this week in Atlanta. The Braves do not believe the 24-year-old is dealing with anything more than the normal fatigue that affects pitchers as they increase their workload after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
"I don't think it's very serious. I think it's something where we're just going to be cautious with him," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "This kid has come back from Tommy John and had a long road. We've protected him all around."
The MRI results will obviously influence how the Braves handle Banuelos for the remainder of this season. But they are hopeful he proves to be healthy enough to make some relief appearances or possibly an occasional start before the season ends.
Banuelos has not even attempted to throw since allowing four earned runs in just five innings against the Cardinals on Friday. He had allowed fewer than two earned runs in each of the three previous starts he had made dating back to his July 2 Major League debut.
The Braves have recalled Mike Foltynewicz from Triple-A Gwinnett to make Banuelos' scheduled start in Wednesday's series finale against the Orioles. Williams Perez would have likely been given this start, but he is unavailable because he made his latest rehab start for Gwinnett on Sunday.
Banuelos has certainly been treated with caution since missing all of the 2013 season while recovery from the Tommy John procedure that was performed on Oct. 4, 2012. He completed just 76 1/3 innings as a Yankees Minor Leaguer last year. Thus, the Braves have planned to limit him to 120-130 innings this season.
While pitching for Gwinnett and Atlanta this season, Banuelos has already totaled 104 1/3 innings. The Braves were therefore nearing a point where they were going to need to either allow him to expire his innings limit as a starter within the next couple of weeks or have him conclude the season in an unfamiliar bullpen role.
Right-handed reliever David Carpenter was recalled from Gwinnett on Tuesday to fill Banuelos' roster spot. But immediately after the game, Carpenter was designated for assignment for the second time this month. The move was made to create a roster spot for Foltynewicz.