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Braves playing a waiting game with Avilan

PITTSBURGH -- Lefty reliever Luis Avilan experienced some trouble when he attempted to test his left hamstring by jogging early Thursday afternoon at PNC Park, but the Braves will attempt to wait at least three more days before deciding whether he will need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"We're trying to hold on," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's making a little bit of progress. [Head athletic trainer Jeff Porter] told me he went out there and really couldn't run. But obviously, we'll try to keep him progressing the best we can. If we get in a situation where we play 12 innings today and we need the extra arm tomorrow, we'll make the move."

Avilan seemed destined for the DL when he fell to the ground before throwing a pitch in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's win over the Royals, but his mobility has improved over the past two days, and the Braves are holding out hope that he is simply dealing with a slight strain and the effects of a bad hamstring cramp.

"I feel so much better," said Avilan, who has established himself as a reliable and versatile middle reliever while compiling a 2.01 ERA in 36 career appearances.

The Braves are willing to go through the four-game series against the Pirates with one less available arm in the relief corps, but Gonzalez said his bullpen will definitely not be short-handed when the Braves begin a three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday.

Thus, if Avilan has not made adequate improvement by Sunday, the Braves will likely have to promote a pitcher from their Minor League system.

"It's one of those situations where we'll try to be as patient as we can as long as he is making progress and as long as we don't need him," Gonzalez said. "You don't want to put him on the DL for 15 [days] when he could come back in six or seven. But come Monday, if he's not progressing the way we want him to progress, we don't want to go into Colorado with 11 [pitchers]."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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