Veal latest addition to Braves' bullpen mix
Club continues to give successful Triple-A relievers a shot to impress
ATLANTA -- As the Braves attempt to find the right pieces for their bullpen, they might continue to provide some of their Minor Leaguers a chance to prove whether they can be productive at the Major League level.
Before Thursday's series opener against the Reds, the Braves purchased left-handed reliever Donnie Veal's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett. Right-handed reliever John Cornely, who made his Major League debut on Wednesday night, was optioned to Gwinnett to create a roster spot for Veal.
"Donnie is pitching well down there," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Thursday night's 5-1 loss to the Reds. "We just wanted to bring a guy in who can help us down in the bullpen. I think it's going to be a case where some of our deficiencies are in the bullpen. So, if some of those guys in Triple-A are paying attention and pitching well, we're paying attention up here."
Veal, who allowed one run (a home run) on two hits, with a walk and a strikeout, in the eighth inning Thursday, has struggled with his command during his pro career, which includes 101 relief appearances at the Major League level. But the 30-year-old issued just two walks while recording 11 strikeouts over 8 2/3 scoreless innings for Gwinnett this season.
Veal joins a bullpen that now includes Trevor Cahill, who lost his rotation spot this week. The Braves committed $5.5 million to Cahill when they acquired him from the D-backs on March 31. Thus, they are expected to provide him a chance to rejuvenate his career while serving as a long reliever for at least the next few weeks.
"When I talked to [Cahill], I told him this is not a permanent move, a lot of things can happen," Gonzalez said. "For right now, I think he can help us out of the [bullpen]."
The Braves are also expected to bring right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff back to the Major League level on Monday. Cunniff had surrendered just one hit over nine innings before he was sent to Gwinnett last week, primarily because he needed some rest after appearing in three consecutive games (April 22-24).