Braves bring back Greene on 1-year deal

May 9th, 2021

ATLANTA -- will rejoin the Braves and attempt to solidify a bullpen that benefited from his presence the past two seasons.

Greene signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Braves, the club announced on Sunday. The right-handed reliever will receive the prorated portion of this salary, meaning he will likely end up receiving closer to $1.2 million.

“[Greene] showed the benefit he can provide in the role he had in that very strong bullpen last year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s willing and able to do about any role in that bullpen.”

Greene will build his endurance and make all of his necessary pregame preparations while spending some time with Triple-A Gwinnett. Once he is deemed ready, he’ll join the Braves bullpen, which needs to upgrade its right-handed presence.

The Braves’ top four right-handed relievers last year were Mark Melancon, Chris Martin, Darren O’Day and Greene. Melancon and O’Day signed elsewhere this winter, and Martin has been sidelined since April 4 with right shoulder inflammation.

Entering Sunday, the Braves owned the NL’s fifth-highest bullpen ERA (4.56). The staff could prove to be much stronger once Martin possibly returns this week and Sean Newcomb regains the strength he lost while on the COVID injured list. The addition of Greene at some point over the next few weeks would further bolster the pen.

When Greene was spotted drinking a beer while standing beyond the left-center-field stands during the Braves’ April 11 game against the Phillies, there was some thought the two sides might be nearing a deal. But a source indicated the two parties were not talking at the time.

But as the Braves’ bullpen woes have increased over the past few weeks, there’s been a greater need to add Greene, who posted a 2.60 ERA in 28 appearances (27 2/3 innings) for the Braves last year. His strikeout rate decreased from 25.4 percent to 19.3 percent and his walk rate rose from 6.7 percent to 8.3 percent.

Still, opponents had a hard time squaring up his pitches. His hard-hit rate decreased from 39.8 percent to 33.3 percent, and his barrel rate decreased from 8.9 percent to 6.5 percent.

“He had a really solid year, so if and when he gets back here, I’ll be excited to get him in the mix,” Snitker said.

Team player
Had Josh Tomlin not provided 4 1/3 innings of relief after Charlie Morton was chased during the first inning of Friday night’s loss, the Braves may not have had enough pitching to extend Saturday’s game long enough to win in 12 innings.

But it wasn’t like Tomlin reported back to Truist Park and expected to have a day off on Saturday. In fact, he was immediately prepared to enter as a pinch-runner when Ronald Acuña Jr. exited after getting hit by a pitch in the seventh.

“He knew he wasn’t going to pitch [Saturday] and he came out of the bullpen in full uniform and cleats and got a [batting] helmet,” Snitker said. “There’s a lot of guys who would have been there wearing a pullover and tennis shoes and not even with a jersey on.

“I guarantee you if I had called down there last night and told him I needed him for an inning, you know what he would have done? He’d have gotten on that mound and given me an inning. He’s amazing. You talk about the consummate pro. He’s saved us in so many instances this year.”

A rarity
Along with delivering the walk-off single in Saturday night’s 12-inning win, Ehire Adrianza became the first Braves player to reach base safely four times after not starting the game since David Justice did it against the Dodgers on July 27, 1990. Justice, who was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year after that season, went 1-for-1 with three walks.

The only other Braves to do this since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966 were Chris Chambliss on May 18, 1986 and Rufino Linares on April 13, 1982.