LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After spending the past month evaluating Rule 5 Draft pick Anyelo Gomez, the Braves opted to return him to the Yankees on Tuesday.The Yankees made the announcement regarding Gomez, who made a good early impression, but then struggled over the past week. The 25-year-old right-hander
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After spending the past month evaluating Rule 5 Draft pick Anyelo Gomez, the Braves opted to return him to the Yankees on Tuesday.
The Yankees made the announcement regarding Gomez, who made a good early impression, but then struggled over the past week. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed nine runs and eight hits in three innings over his past two relief appearances.
The Braves paid $100,000 to select Gomez in December's Rule 5 Draft. But with the return, they received half that cost back from the Yankees.
With Gomez out of the picture, it appears the Braves will need to fill two bullpen spots before setting their Opening Day roster next week.
The five essential locks for Atlanta's bullpen are Arodys Vizcaino, A.J. Minter, Jose Ramirez, Sam Freeman and Dan Winkler, who will need to remain on the active roster to satisfy the Rule 5 requirements that have been attached to him since being taken in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.
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It's also safe to term Peter Moylan a heavy favorite to get one of the final three spots in what is projected to be an eight-man Braves bullpen. Moylan signed a non-guaranteed Major League deal in February. The 39-year-old veteran will receive a $1.2 million salary if he is placed on Atlanta's active roster.
The Braves are expected to fill one of the two remaining bullpen spots with at least one long reliever. The top candidates are Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair and Lucas Sims. Each of these pitchers has an option remaining. Thus they could be flip-flopped between the Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett rosters throughout the season.
Another potential internal candidate is Rex Brothers, who would have to be utilized as a lefty specialist. Brothers has surrendered four home runs and allowed nine runs -- eight earned -- over seven innings this spring. But he hasn't allowed a hit to any of the four left-handed batters he has faced.
This is a small sample size, but it falls in line with what Brothers did while pitching for Atlanta last year. He allowed right-handed batters to hit .273 and compile a .375 on-base percentage against him. But he limited left-handed hitters to a .216 batting average and .293 OBP.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.