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Gohara a flexible asset, but prefers one role

Injury updates: Freeman, Teheran, Vizcaino
MLB.com @mlbbowman

MILWAUKEE -- Whether Luiz Gohara serves as a multi-inning relief option or eventually joins Atlanta's rotation will be dictated by what the Braves' needs are over the season's final months. But regardless of his role, it appears the talented young left-hander is ready to once again serve as a valuable asset.

Gohara made a good impression when he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett just a few hours before he recorded three strikeouts and limited the Yankees to Aaron Judge's opposite-field homer over two relief innings on Tuesday. His four-seam fastball touched 96.1 mph and averaged 94.6 mph.

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MILWAUKEE -- Whether Luiz Gohara serves as a multi-inning relief option or eventually joins Atlanta's rotation will be dictated by what the Braves' needs are over the season's final months. But regardless of his role, it appears the talented young left-hander is ready to once again serve as a valuable asset.

Gohara made a good impression when he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett just a few hours before he recorded three strikeouts and limited the Yankees to Aaron Judge's opposite-field homer over two relief innings on Tuesday. His four-seam fastball touched 96.1 mph and averaged 94.6 mph.

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When Gohara returned from a 10-day bereavement leave in June, his four-seamer averaged 93.3 mph over three relief appearances. He simply wasn't showing anything close to the dominant potential showed last year, when he made five September starter with the benefit of a four-seamer that averaged 96.4 mph.

"His stuff was better than when he went down [to Triple-A]," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I think for him to be what he was last year, he just needs to throw consistently. If we need him here, he'll become a part of [the bullpen] until we see fit to get him starting again."

If Gohara continues to impress over the next few appearances, he could certainly address some of the team's bullpen concerns. The 21-year-old southpaw has the potential to be the multi-inning asset the Brewers have with Josh Hader, who has enhanced the depth of Milwaukee's bullpen by covering more than one inning in 18 of his 25 appearances.

Gohara would prefer to be a starter, but he has no problem if the Braves choose to keep him in the bullpen. He threw 86 pitches during Saturday's start with Gwinnett. So, if a need would arise within the next week, he would be ready to serve as a starter.

"I can do both right now, but I think it would be better to do just one, so that you can get your work in the right way," Gohara said.

Freeman returns
Freddie Freeman has been in the starting lineup for each of this year's games and for all but two of the games the Braves have played since he returned from a fractured wrist last year. So, it certainly wasn't surprising to see the veteran first baseman in the lineup for Thursday night's series opener against the Brewers. He was removed from Wednesday afternoon's game against the Yankees after getting hit just above the right elbow with a CC Sabathia pitch. The immediate swelling around his triceps muscle prevented him from having the flexibility necessary to play the game's final six innings.

Video: ATL@NYY: Freeman later exits game after hit-by-pitch

"I'm sure he's sore, but I didn't figure it was going to keep him from playing," Snitker said.

Odds and ends
Julio Teheran returned to Atlanta after seemingly being struck by the flu after he allowed five earned runs over five innings in Wednesday's loss to the Yankees. Teheran will work out at SunTrust Park over the weekend and should be ready to make his scheduled start on Tuesday.

"[The flu] didn't have anything to do with his start," Snitker said.

Arodys Vizcaino made a successful return from the disabled list when he completed a scoreless inning on Wednesday. But providing indication of how careful they will be with the closer's shoulder, Snitker indicated he wanted to stay away from Vizcaino during Thursday's game.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Luiz Gohara